By Sally Deneen
If a circus doesn't feature elephants or possibly any animals at all, is it still a circus? Some jurisdictions intend to find out. The Times of India reports that "animals will be totally banned from circus shows" in the country within a year. Get this: Tigers, lions and other wild animals already have been forbidden there for more than a decade, so the broadened ban will now cover the rest of the performing animals — including dogs, horses and camels.
In case you're keeping count, Colombia recently said "no mas" to wild animals in circuses, joining four other South American countries with bans — Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and what is thought to be the first country in the world to have such a ban, Bolivia, which started in 2009. Greece banned all animals in circuses last year, becoming the second European country behind Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to Animal Defenders International. Austria and Croatia ban wild animal acts, ADI says, while Portugal and Denmark are among European countries pursuing such measures.
England's plans to ban all 21 animals working in its travelling circuses starting in late 2015 have drawn some howls of complaint, the BBC reports. So while elephants, lions and tigers are to be phased out, it's possible camels and snakes and the like will still entertain crowds. Don't worry: Elephants, tigers and other crowd-pleasers remain on the job in U.S. circuses, to the dismay of activists such as Lily Tomlin.
"Animals used in circus are treated brutally. They are kept hungry and cruel treatment is meted out to them. Hence, there is widespread demand for the ban of animals in circus shows," S Umarani, secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India, said, according to the Times.
Artists in India's circus industry expressed distress over the ban on wild animals, claiming half of the circus companies shut down, according to NTDTV (see video). Human daredevils entertain crowds, but, the TV report says, "no one knows whether the show can go on."