Circus animals in Germany

How is the keeping of wild animals in circuses actually regulated by law? In Germany there are only non-binding guidelines that are far below the minimum requirements for zoos. These miserable specifications serve as a guide for the official veterinarians during inspections. There are also no specific guidelines for keeping circus animals at EU level. In the event of violations, the authorities are often powerless, also because circuses stay within the same jurisdiction for only a few days.

A general ban on wild animals in the circus, or of certain animal species, is supported by a large majority of the federal states and by many parties.

A large majority of Germans are also in favor of a ban on wild animals such as big cats, bears and elephants in circuses. This is shown by a representative survey by the market research institute «Kantar» commissioned by the Foundation in April 2019. According to this, a total of two-thirds of those surveyed are against wild animals in the circus.

Already three times, namely in 2003, 2011 and 2016, the Federal Council has voted with a clear majority for a ban on wild animals in the circus. But every time the federal government has not complied with this order. The European veterinarians’ association FVE (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe) has also clearly spoken out in favor of a circus without wild animals.

urges the federal government to enact a ban on wild animals in the circus and thus finally end animal suffering in the circus tent!