Stop Circus Suffering

Elephant circus ban makes slow progress

ADI’s Norwegian partner NOAH still waits for meaningful change for circus elephants

Three years after the launch of our joint Stop Circus Suffering campaign with Norwegian partner NOAH, a ban on the use of elephants was proposed in 2009. However little progress has been made in bringing this into law and the government is now looking into a regulatory system which cannot safeguard the welfare of the animals.

According to NOAH, since draft legislation for the ban was passed to the Ministry for signature, no progress has been made in parliament and in 2012 a new Minister was appointed who announced that he did not support a ban, and instructed the government department responsible, the Food Safety Authority, to work on regulations instead.

A consultation process for the new regulations, in which NOAH participated, ended in March 2013. ADI has been informed that all participants were supportive of a ban, rather than regulations, and the Food Safety Authority’s own summary of the consultation’s findings stated that their opinion to ban had been further strengthened. (Only the circuses are, unsurprisingly, in favour of regulations instead of a ban.)

As ADI has highlighted in the UK, regulations cannot safeguard the welfare of circus animals. A travelling circus cannot provide wild animals with the facilities they need and the only way to legislate to protect them is to prohibit their use. It is therefore vital that the proposed Norwegian legislation to ban elephants goes through.

NOAH has been lobbying the government and other political parties, organising protests whenever the circus comes to town, and working with local politicians to secure local bans. They have also started a campaign to free Baba – who was captured from the wild, and has been with the circus for 40 years – and other elephants from Norwegian circuses.

No animal should live its life in the circus, made to suffer physical and mental deprivations, often treated with cruelty, all for our “entertainment”. Banning elephants will hopefully be the first step in a journey to an eventual ban on all animals in circuses in Norway

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