Stop Circus Suffering

Victory! Greece bans all animal circuses

After a six year campaign by ADI and the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF) the Greek Government has banned the use of all animals in circuses.

The abuse and misery inside Greek circuses

After a six year campaign by ADI and the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF), backed by over 50 local animal protection groups, the Greek Government has banned the use of all animals in circuses. The new animal welfare law also addresses other animal welfare issues.

For the campaign, we filmed horrific misery, such as a hippo living in a small, filthy cage on the back of a truck with a stinking pool barely bigger than a bath tub.

Click here to donate now and help us continue to expose and end the suffering of animals in circuses.

The Greek campaign, like many others around the world, really took off in 1998 with the launch of ADI’s ‘Ugliest Show on Earth’ video – the world’s first long-term undercover investigation of animal circuses. The suffering of animals in U.K. and European circuses and winter quarters shocked the world; the U.K.’s first circus cruelty convictions followed.

Over the next few years, it helped campaigners to secure bans in towns and cities in the U.S, South America, Asia, U.K. and Europe. Singapore, Costa Rica, Austria and others passed national bans, too. And towns such as Thessaloniki in Greece acted quickly.

Greece appeared ready for national legislation, so armed with a new investigation, we joined forced with GAWF. Media launches were held in succession in Crete, Thessaloniki and Athens.

The abuse and misery inside Greek circuses
The abuse and misery inside Greek circuses

More bans in towns and cities followed, in Patras, Xanthi, Eleftheron, Kavala, Glika Nera Attikis, Elefsina, Lamia and Nea Makri, Thermi, Kalamaria and PrevezaMalia, Kalamata, Serres and Aridea Pellas.

Footage of animals suffering in circuses in Greece, including an elephant being beaten and dragged with a bullhook, disgusted the public, who wanted action.

Even national schools writing and painting competitions included hundreds of entries condemning circus suffering.

By 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture indicated that there would be a ban; it took a further two years to ensure that it was secured.

Tim Phillips is interviewed during the launch
Tim Phillips is interviewed during the launch

Greece is the second country in Europe, behind Bosnia and Herzegovina, to ban all animals from circuses. Austria and Croatia currently have bans on wild animal acts, and several European countries including Portugal and Denmark have measures to ban or phase out wild animals in circuses.

Bolivia was the first country in the world to introduce a national ban on any and all animals from circuses. This led to the joint ADI enforcement operation with the Bolivian wildlife authorities, rescuing every animal (lions, primates, other wild animals and horses) from the circuses who defied the law.

ADI and GAWF are committed to assisting with enforcement of this new ban.

Leave a comment on this story

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.