10/29/09 Supplement to the Demand for Official Supervision of the Circus Safari

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Ministry of Culture
Runjaninova 2
10000 Zagreb

October 29, 2009


In regard to the procedure of the Nature Protection Directorate, apart from the violations stated in the (previous) Demand for Official Supervision over the decision of the Nature Protection Directorate CLASS: 612-07/09-49/789, submitted to the addressee on October 15, 2009, allowed violations of Article 11 and Article 21, paragraph 1 of the Ordinance on International Transportation and Trade in Endangered Species (Official Gazette no. 72/09), Animal Friends is supplementing the abovementioned Demand and fully reasserting their demands.


In their request dated September 15, 2009, ZG-TRAG Ltd. (hereafter: Importer) asked for the permission to carry out international trade, i.e. temporary import of foreign wild species, including a specified protected wild species called Lama Guanicoe. It is a fact that this species is included in the list of protected species from APPENDIX VI (p. 32) of the Ordinance on International Transportation and Trade in Endangered Species (Official Gazette no. 72/09), and according to Article 21, paragraph 1 it is absolutely prohibited to import these species to the territory of Croatia, regardless of the presence (or absence) of a CITES export permit.

In Article 21, paragraph 2, the Ordinance states the conditions under which the Croatian Ministry of Culture might issue such a permit – but even then, based on Article 21, paragraph 4 of the Ordinance, exclusively with an expiry date of a maximum one month. That would allow the temporary import for a maximum of 30 days, after which the party would be compelled to leave Croatia. An ATA carnet is issued to importers with a far longer period of validity and therefore cannot be treated as a substitute for the regulations of the Ordinance on International Transportation and Trade in Endangered Species or a substitute for an import permit of the Ministry, which is not the purpose of an ATA carnet.

Besides, among the preconditions for issuing an ATA carnet, as stated by HGK (Croatian Trade Chamber) there is one that prevents the gaining of profit, meaning that, when the goods from the category of "fairs, exhibitions, presentations" are imported, those with the ATA carnet may not be (citation): "sublet or in any way used for renting or gaining profit," which is precisely what Circus Safari is doing when it charges for visiting its zoo or has shows featuring animals (when ATA carnet is issued for the import of goods from the category of "other," which is the only category mentioning animals beside goods. It is permitted to import animals that travel to competitions or for training purposes, which criterion has remained equally unfulfilled in case of animals owned by Circus Safari). Thus, all these facts lead to the conclusion that in this particular case ATA carnet cannot be considered a substitute for the Import Permit of the Ministry.

Furthermore, Article 11 of the Ordinance regulates the import of living animals belonging to foreign species with the conditions that must be fulfilled before issuing the permit of the Ministry for their import to the territory of Croatia, which in this particular case applies to all other foreign species owned by the circus, which are not an endangered species.

The Protection Directorate, which is the Ministry's administrative body in charge, did not proceed according to that article of the Ordinance, which is the reason why Circus Safari managed to import animals to Croatia regardless of the fact that it did not fulfil the conditions defined by Article 11, paragraph 2 and 3 of the Ordinance.

Eventually, regarding the fact that the importer filed his request in order to expose the animals in public, moreover in a circus setting, it remains unclear why the regulation from Article 53, paragraph 1 of Animal Protection Act (Official Gazette no. 135/06), which explicitly forbids keeping wild animals in a circus, was not observed. Since no circus with wild animals is allowed to enter Croatian territory, it is quite irrelevant to what purpose they are kept, since the above mentioned Act does not foresee any reasons that would abolish the illegal nature of keeping wild animals in a circus.

For all the above-stated reasons, Animal Friends calls on the addressee to urgently carry out official surveillance in accordance with Article 173 of Nature Protection Act (Official Gazette no. 70/05) and the addressee's administrative body in charge to proceed urgently in accordance to the regulations from Article 11 and Article 21 of the Ordinance on International Transportation and Trade in Endangered Species (Official Gazette no. 72/09) in order to restore order and avoid similar violations in the future.

We request your notice in writing on all measures and actions taken, as well as their results.

Best regards,

Martina Jurisa (PhD)
Animal Friends

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