Petition on Animal Circus Abolition Rejected by Parliament

The participation of animals in circus performances is a matter of strong debate in Georgia, with traveling circuses from Russia and Ukraine hosted countrywide throughout the year. The idea of abolishing animal circuses this spring brought together dozens of individuals of different ages and spheres through a large-scale campaign titled Circus Without Animals, a movement against the use of animals in circus performances, with a focus on the violent and cruel methods used to train animals to perform. The protest was expressed not only through rallies in front of the circus building and along Rustaveli Avenue, the main artery of the capital city, but saw the animal-lovers launching a petition demanding the government change the law to ban animal circuses from the territory of Georgia. 656 signatures were collected and the petition handed to Parliament for review.

The results of the consideration of the petition were revealed on September 12, with parliamentarians stating that “at this stage the demand for the prohibition of animal circuses cannot be satisfied.” The members of the Environment Protection and Natural Resources Committee, in discussing the nature of the document, noted that it is not yet ready to be introduced to the Parliament of Georgia and said that there are various aspects in its content that need to be “sophisticated.” In addition, they strongly accentuated the importance and difficulty of the decision-making process when it comes to the abolition of anything and highlighted that it is necessary to launch a special working group made up of experts in the field and representatives of NGOs.

The conclusion of the committee stated that there has been no incident of torture towards animals observed in circuses since 2013. It went on to focus on the recent changes made in Georgian legislation envisaging punishment for those found to be committing acts of cruelty towards animals.

However, the case is certainly far from over. Even though the petition was not accepted at this stage, the members of the committee were very positive about the idea and expressed their readiness to discuss the issue again, as soon as the document is sophisticated and has undergone a number of formal adjustments.

For their part, those behind the Circus Without Animals campaign are now working to put together a group of experts and NGO representatives relevant to the case, though admit that doing so in Georgia, a country only now waking up to the necessity of human and animal rights, is going to be a challenge. They note, however, that they will not give up until animal circuses are banned from the territory of Georgia, as they are in Colombia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Scotland, Singapore, Israel, Finland, France, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, India, Peru, and, most recently, the capital of Ingushetia.

One of the organizers of the campaign, Lika Batsikadze, in May explained that "the civilized world is well-aware of the significance of banning animal circuses, and more than 30 countries have applied relevant measures. Georgia should certainly be included on that list and implement progressive, ethical approaches to animals." 


By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

Photo: GT




21 September 2019 11:57