People, Environment

No More Circus Animals!

No More Circus Animals!No More Circus Animals!

The only remaining circus to comply with the Department of Environment’s ban on the use and abuse of animals by circus has stopped its animal shows, effectively making Iran one of a handful of countries that have stopped the use of wild animals for entertainment.

The circus, which is based in Tehran, ended its use of animals on June 20, ISNA reported.

Circuses were given until the end of the Iranian month of Shahrivar (September 21) to stop shows involving animals, but 25 circuses complied by April, nearly four months before the deadline.

The DOE had reportedly stopped issuing permits allowing the use of wildlife for entertainment purposes on March 20 to encourage the compliance of circuses across all 31 provinces with the DOE directive.

The measure is the result of the successful “No to Circus!” social campaign launched by Animal Rights Watch in September 2014, which was endorsed by the government and provincial officials, leading to mounting pressure on circuses to end their animal acts. 

“All entertaining program organizers and circus directors, from now on, will have to terminate shows involving animals,” said Ali Teymouri, director general of DOE’s Protection, Hunting and Fishing Management Office of Iran.

“The major policies made by the DOE aim to protect wild species from abuse, exploitation and smuggling.”

Now, Iran joins a small but growing group of countries, including India, Singapore and Taiwan in Asia, and numerous countries worldwide, which have banned animal acts in circuses.

“By banning the use of wild animals in the circus, the people of Iran are taking a united stand against cruelty to animals and it makes us wonder why the United States can’t come along,” environmental website wrote back in April.

According to PETA, to force animals to perform, circus trainers abuse them with whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks (heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on one end), and other painful tools of the circus trade. They easily get away with such routine cruelty because the training sessions are not monitored and handlers are cautious when they are in public.