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Beginning of the end of animal circuses in Portugal

From: Gillian Russell [mailto:jillrussell777@ btinternet. com]
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 10:51 AM
To: jillrussell777@ btinternet. com
Subject: Fw: Beginning of the end of animal circuses in Portugal - Please take action to support new already applicable ban on wild animals in circuses in Portugal

Subject: Beginning of the end of animal circuses in Portugal - Please take action to support new already applicable ban on wild animals in circuses in Portugal

14 October, 2009

Government established laws in Portugal which immediately ban the use of great apes in circuses and lay grounds for the end of the use of wild animals in circuses -- Please congratulate the Portuguese Government for taking this step and please ask the European Commission to support the EU member states, such as Portugal and Austria, which took measures to end the use of animals in circuses and also to have the EU following their example

Following years of education, awareness-raising, campaigning and lobbying work carried out by ANIMAL, it finally happened. Since September 3rd, based on a new law-decree established by the Portuguese Government, circuses operating in Portugal can no longer keep or use great apes -- chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos. The use of these animals is also forbidden in any other spectacles.

As from yesterday, another legislative decision of the Portuguese Government went further: it banned the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses, such as elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, tigers, bears, primates, reptiles, ostriches, among others. However, there is a regrettable exception: the wild animals that the Portuguese circuses already legally held when this new bill came into force (yesterday) will still be allowed to be kept and used in circus shows, but the circus companies are now legally forced to prevent those animals from breeding and can no longer acquire any new wild animals. The circuses have, as from yesterday, 90 days to register all their wild animals with the Portuguese CITES authority -- and those will be the only wild animals that they will ever again be allowed to keep and use. This new bill means that the renovation of the populations of animals kept and used in Portuguese circuses is banned.

While Portuguese circuses are now extremely nervous, saying that this means the end of circuses, and have joined the European Circus Association in making preparations to file a law suit with the European Commission against the Portuguese State, alleging that this new law infringes the article 49 of the European Treaty, supposedly violating the free internal market of the EU, ANIMAL has congratulated the Portuguese Government for taking these measures and has only regretted that these will not affect the wild animals (aside from the great apes) which are already kept in circuses and it has also regretted that these legislative measures leave domesticated animals away from its application. That is why ANIMAL will continue to call the Portuguese Parliament to take these measures one step further, by totally and immediately banning the keeping and use of both wild and domesticated animals in circuses.

In the meanwhile, ANIMAL needs your help to ensure that, now that the Portuguese and European circus lobby will react against this with everything it has, the Portuguese Government will stand by these legislative measures and that the European Commission will not only respect the Portuguese State decision of outlawing the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses, but will also recognize it as a good example for the EU to follow, along with the one that Austria had already established when it banned the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses:

* Please send the suggested message below -- or write your own message, if you prefer -- to the President of the European Commission and to the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, urging them to respect, support and recognize as positive and a good example for the EU to follow the legislative measures took by the Portuguese Government. Please copy Portugal--s Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment and the President of the Portuguese CITES Authority into the message, so that they know that you are supporting the steps that they took to end the use of wild animals in circuses. Please send your message to: <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=Jose-Manuel. BARROSO@cec. eu.int> Jose-Manuel. BARROSO@cec. eu.int; <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=Charlie. Mc-Creevy@ cec.eu.int> Charlie.Mc-Creevy@ cec.eu.int; Copying (Cc) <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=pm@pm. gov.pt> pm@pm.gov.pt; <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=gmaotdr@ maotdr.gov. pt> gmaotdr@maotdr. gov.pt; <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=icnb@icnb. pt> icnb@icnb.pt; <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=campanhas@ animal.org. pt> campanhas@animal. org.pt, into the message.

* ANIMAL also needs another type of help from you to be able to carry on campaigning to abolish animal circuses and bullfighting and to forward animal protection in Portugal with your support -- Please make as generous a donation as you can TODAY to help ANIMAL: Use PayPal to make a safe and easy internet payment-- please go to http://www.PayPal. com/ and make a donation to <http://uk.mc862. mail.yahoo. com/mc/compose? to=info@animal. org.pt> info@animal. org.pt | Or make a bank transfer to the following account: ANIMAL -- Associa----o Nortenha de Interven----o no Mundo AnimaL -- Montepio Geral (Caixa Econ--mica) -- IBAN: PT50 0036 0093 9910 0034 4746 9 -- BIC/SWIFT: MPIOPTPL | Or make a regular donation by cheque or money order and posting it to us at: ANIMAL, Apartado 24140, 1251-997 Lisboa, Portugal.


Suggested Message

Dear Mr. President of the European Commission Jos-- Manuel Barroso

Dear Commissioner McCreevy, European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services

CC to:
The Prime-Minister of Portugal, Mr. Jos-- S--crates
The Minister of Environment of Portugal, Mr. Francisco Nunes Correia
The President of the ICNB Portugal CITES Authority, Mr. Tito Rosa

Excellencies,

I am writing this message to express my fullest support to the Portuguese Government new enacted laws which immediately ban the keeping and use of great apes in circuses and which immediately ban the breeding and acquisition of new wild animals by circus companies operating in Portugal, allowing them only to keep the wild animals that they already lawfully held at the time of the coming into force of such laws. In fact, to be more accurate, I deeply regret that the Portuguese Government did not go further, banning the keeping and use of the very wild animals that circuses in Portugal already hold, as well as the keeping and use of domesticated animals, which also suffer tremendously in circuses and should not be kept or used in such deplorable spectacles. However, I look at these legislative measures of the Portuguese Government as very positive and praiseworthy signs of concern for the plight of animals used in circuses, particularly of wild animals, and so I wish to express my gratitude for the taking of such legislative steps.

I have in the meanwhile learned that, as they have done when Austria courageously banned the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses, the European Circus Association (ECA), which represents the circus lobby in the EU, has threatened to take legal action against the Portuguese State for outlawing the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses in the terms above mentioned. The ECA argues, once again, as it has done with the Austrian case, that such a ban infringes the article 49 of the European Treaty, supposedly violating the rules of the free common market. However, I believe it does not, as no circus is banned from performing in Austria or in Portugal -- they are only banned from using great apes and from breeding or acquiring by other means new wild animals, in Portugal, and from using wild animals in Austria, but circuses are free -- and, furthermore, encouraged -- to perform with human artists -- who, unlike animals, perform willingly -- wherever they want in the EU. No animal protection organisation, and certainly not the Portuguese Government or the Austrian State, oppose or seek to outlaw the circus activity as a whole -- the point is only to end something that is objectively and necessarily cruel, wrong and a sad and degrading anachronism: the bizarre, absurd and totally unethical use of animals in circuses, where they should no longer be and where they should never have been kept in the first place.

I therefore urge the European Commission to stand by the legislative steps that both the Portuguese and Austrian states have taken against the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses and I furthermore urge the European Commission to, together with the European Council and with the European Parliament, take a joint legislative action to completely outlaw the keeping and use of both wild and domesticated animals in circuses, while respecting and protecting solely all the respectable and admirable circus arts which involve human artists alone.

I also wish to reiterate my support to the Portuguese and to the Austrian states for taking such steps to protect wild animals and I can only urge them to extend these measures to domesticated animals as well. Bolivia has banned the keeping and use of both wild and domesticated animals, several states and municipalities in Brazil have done the same, while Costa Rica, Croatia, Israel and Singapore have complete bans on the use of wild animals in circuses. Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, India and Sweden have banned the use of certain wild animal species in circuses, while Belgium, Estonia, Hungary and Poland have also enforced some restrictions of the use of wild animals in circuses. It is now time for the European Union to take the lead in this matter by completely outlawing the keeping and use of domesticated and wild animals in circuses. As an European citizen, I wish no less than that in this field.


Looking forward for your reply and thanking you in anticipation for your attention,

Yours, respectfully,


[Name]
[City, Country]
[E-mail address]

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