Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili also said the three French dolphinariums would no longer be allowed to breed or attract new whales and dolphins. The breeding of mink should also be prohibited.
Ms Pompili said “attitudes towards wild animals have changed in our time” and the government has planned a “gradual transformation to work with the professionals involved, as it would change the lives of many”.
She said there would be discussions with circuses and dolphinariums about the future, deciding each case animal by animal, but William Kerwich, of the circus federation FFCACS, said Ms Pompili was not open to any discussion when they met her a few days before her announcement.
Mr Kerwich, of the Cirque Royal Kerwich in Avignon, said: “She didn’t want to listen. At least, former minister Nicolas Hulot recognized the consequences, with the need for continuous care for animals and help at work. ”
“We fear for the future of animals”
People say the shrines will take them but these places do not have the money to pay for the food or the trained personnel needed. ”
“Circuses have 800 animals, along with 450 wild animals, and each has specific needs and diets, and we have 3,000 employees working with them all the time. We have seen a shelter before where many animals were found dead and we would never wish that would happen. We hope MPs will watch again when the bill is passed in January, but they are unlikely to have voted to allow bullfighting as well as dog hunting, which are activities where animals are killed and not cared for.
Changes to the dolphinarium would see whales banned from 2022 and dolphins by 2027-30, but Pascal Picot, boss of Marineland park in Antibes in the south, said it was “unfair” and impossible in such a short time of time.
Even 10 years for the repatriation of 12 dolphins has been difficult.
Christine Grandjean, from the animal rights group That’s enough, welcomed the move, but said if the dolphins could find new homes – even if it might take 10 years – there would be problems resettling Marineland’s four whales. They couldn’t live at sea and would likely end up in a foreign dolphinarium. Ms Pompili said otherwise, suggesting there was no problem for whales and dolphins.
She proposed to create a national sanctuary to allow teaching and research. Alpes-Maritimes MP Loïc Dombreval, who heads the animal protection group in Parliament, said it would be better to have such a site than to send animals to foreign parks.
The minister’s plan for € 8m in aid to be shared between the 180 circuses and three dolphinariums was said by Mr Kerwich as “nothing to do with what is needed, given the costs of staff and food” . Mr Picot said the sum was “ridiculous”.
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