In country, the majority of citizens, 71 out of 100, no longer want to see animals in circuses. So said a Eurispes report from a few years ago and now the City of Milan wants to move from opinions to practice.
At the beginning of February, in fact, with 26 votes in favour and 7 against, the City Council of the capital of Lombardy approved the new Regulation for the welfare and protection of animals with which it bans circuses with elephants, monkeys, tigers and animals in general, or at least shows using wild animals.
The regulation, rather than a new law that circus companies passing through the city will have to strictly adhere to, is, however, “only” a disincentive for those who use animals. At present, in fact, there is still no national law to prevent the exploitation of wild animals for recreational purposes, so in a possible dispute with circuses would be enough to resort to the Tar against the ban for winning it.
There is still no national law
“It is an important lesson in civilisation of the City of Milan, which everyone should follow as an example throughout the country but it is time to take another step forward – confirms the President of Codacons, Marco Donzelli. “We need a national awareness, with a law that imposes a ban on the whole of Italy.”
Until then, the mandatory regulatory reference (cites guidelines are not) will therefore remain a 1968 law, No 337, which requires municipalities to have spaces dedicated to circus performances, without mentioning the protection of animals.
In fact, that new law desired by Codacons would already exist: it is the law-delegation on show No.175 of 2017 in which we talk about “revision of the provisions in the areas of circus activities and traveling shows, specifically aimed at the gradual overcoming of the use of animals in the conduct of them”. The problem is that no government has issued the implementing decrees and 175/2017 has never come into force.
Between hopes and contradictions
Also in these weeks from Rome comes a timid signal of openness. On January 15th, in fact, the Senate Culture Committee passed a resolution on “Disposing of the use of animals in circuses and traveling shows”.
In practice, the aim of the committee is to have the government consider the possibility of removing animals from circuses, starting from 175/2017 and focusing both on the disaffection and protests of the citizens, and on the living conditions of the species used under the tents.
While the situation develops, the animals continue to be used and local authorities are in regulatory limbo, creating paradoxical situations: in fact, just before the City of Milan “banned” on its territory circuses with primates, cetaceans, wolves, bears, pinnipeds, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, large felines and elephants, the Regional Council of the Lombardy Region rejected a motion asking the junta to commit to eliminating the use of animals in circuses.