France says 'no' to performing animals

Goodbye to the circus! Performing animals were banned in the UK in January.

Should wild animals be banned from all circuses? Last week, France announced a ban on animals travelling with the circus. Some people think every country should make similar laws.

What’s happening

Beneath the big top, a procession of horses trots around in a circle. Then, an elephant appears. It stands up on two legs and raises its trunk. The audience claps.

It might sound like a typical scene from the circus. But these animals are not real. They are holograms, made entirely of light.

Find out more

Circus Roncalli is famous for its performing animals. But in 2019, it decided to stop using wild animals. Instead, it created a beautiful light show.

In the past, people bought their tickets for the circus to see lions jump through fire and seals catching balls.

Now, a growing number of circuses have decided not to perform with animals.

In many places, the performing creatures are even banned. France is the most recent country to create rules against them.

Animal rights groups are pleased. They say that wild animals should live in the wild and not be used as entertainment.

But many who work in the circuses aren't happy because of the changes it would mean to their jobs and livelihood.

Should animals be banned from all circuses?

Some say…

Of course. Forcing wild animals to perform is cruel. Besides, it is completely unnecessary. Nowadays, if we want to see wild animals, we don’t need to go to a circus. We can see them on television or visit them in the wild. The circus is still magical when we watch talented people perform. They can choose to do tricks – animals cannot.

Others think…

Not necessarily. Suddenly banning animals from the circus could cause more problems than it solves. The creatures will not be able to survive in the wild. New rules could also remove people’s jobs and ruin their lives. The way to make sure that the animals are treated well is to have stricter rules about how to take care of them.

You Decide

  1. Would you go to a circus that used wild animals?


  1. Create a poster for a circus with events performed only by people. Make it as colourful as possible to attract a big audience.

Some People Say...

“When animals are caged, it’s a loss of what they are.”

K A Applegate, American children’s author

What do you think?

Word Watch

Big top
The name of a traditional circus tent.
A 3D picture made by laser light. The hologram animals all look as though they are made from gold dust.
Circus Roncalli
In Germany, where the circus performs, animals are not banned. But Roncalli chose to stop using them because it no longer does many shows in the countryside. The organisers thought it was unfair to make animals stay in cities.
Many countries have rules against performing animals. In the UK circus animals were banned in January.
Animal rights groups
Organisations who campaign and fight for animals to be treated fairly and without cruelty.
Getting or earning what you need to live. It can also mean the thing that you do to get what you need. For example, a farming is a farmer’s livelihood.


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