04/26/23 Ban Animal Circuses from Entering Croatia!
Animal Friends Croatia file a complaint against an animal circus currently performing in the region of Međimurje
- The group demands a total legislative ban on using animals in circuses
Animal Friends Croatia filed a complaint to the State Inspectorate against the foreign Candy Circus that uses animals in its performances and is currently performing in the region of Međimurje. Apart from the main tent, the circus incorporates animal pens housing many animals, among which camels make the majority. In their Facebook and Instagram posts, the circus published photos from performances in which horses rear up on command by circus staff who use dressage whips. Photos also include camels, one of whom looks malnourished and sick. Thus, in their complaint, Animal Friends Croatia requested supervision by the State Inspectorate and an immediate ban of further performances by circus animals anywhere in Croatia.
In 2006, Croatia banned wild animal performances in circuses. The 2017 Animal Protection Act bans keeping animals in circuses and using them for circus performances, however it also stipulates the ridiculous exception made for domestic animals that can be kept and used “for the purpose of showing unique patterns of behaviour typical for the species that correspond to the patterns of behaviour of those animals in their natural habitats.”
Animal Friends Croatia has been warning for years that this clause is unenforceable: “This would mean that circuses could keep domestic animals if they stood, walked, or ran, as they would normally do, however, they are not to be used for tricks. Horses’ rearing up, jumping through hoops and over obstacles, climbing stands, etc. are not natural patterns of behaviour either for wild or domestic animals, but a result of painful and violent dressage using whips and tasers,” stated Snježana Klopotan Kačavenda, Project Coordinator at Animal Friends Croatia.
She added that animals suffer enormously in the difficult conditions common for the circuses, which they often manifest through stress and psychoses, usually involving repetitious movements such as rocking or walking back and forth. Moreover, according to the definition provided by the Animal Protection Act, camels are not domestic animals in Croatia. The international organization Eurogroup for Animals states in its 2021 report Wild Animals in EU Circuses that species belonging to the Camelidae family are considered wild animals. Given that keeping wild animals in circuses is banned in Croatia, the Candy Circus is in breach of law by bringing them to Croatia!
Following the necessity for improvements in the Animal Protection Act, Animal Friends Croatia has instigated amendments to the Act and presented their proposals at www.boljizakon.net, including a complete ban on keeping and using animals in circuses, dropping the disputed exception that currently allows for the use of domestic animals. The Croatian Ministry of Agriculture has set up a committee that is due to start working on the much-needed new Act.
“Many countries, such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bolivia, etc. have already banned all circus performances involving animals. Croatia too should follow this positive development. Animals are not entertainers, and it is disgraceful that they are still exploited to attract consumers and make a profit in the 21st century. There are numerous animal-free circuses and forms of entertainment,” concluded Snježana Klopotan Kačavenda.