Law outlawing use of animals in circuses ‘left hanging’

A law banning the use of animals in circuses – approved almost a year ago – has been left hanging.

Welcomed as it was in November last year, it had a six month grace period before coming into effect (click here).

The government was meant to use the time to appoint an official entity to regulate the change-over and more specifically compile a register of animals that will need to be liberated.

“It’s time to return animals their dignity”, PAN’s MP André Silva told supporters – unaware so little would actually move forwards.

Said SIC this week, well after the six month period has expired still no entity has been identified for the purposes of compiling a list of animals in national circuses, and none have been ‘seized’.

The law was never in fact about seizing. Circuses were asked to volunteer information on their animals in order to receive ‘provisional licences’ to continue using them – which could run for anything from six months to six years.

This too is far from happening. And because there is no regulating body, circuses haven’t had any place to which they can volunteer their information.

Another fundamental change that should have been addressed by now is the reinforcement of centres to which circus animals will eventually be taken, explains one of PAN’s new MPs Inês Sousa Real. Also lacking has been any preparation to finance professional retraining that the law seeks to offer compliant circus personnel.

Faced with this basic ‘slap-in-the-face’ MPs that hailed the law are now angrily asking questions in parliament.

Says SIC, Bloco de Esquerda (BE) has called the government’s sloth “serious”, PCP communists have “lamented” the lack of infrastructures in place and PAN has called the situation “unacceptable”.

Minister for agriculture Maria do Ceu Albuquerque is thus being summoned to explain what is happening and why this law isn’t moving forwards in the way it should.

BE stresses if Ms Albuquerque can’t give the necessary answers, it will seek to hear from other ministries, namely Culture and Environment.

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