World & Nation

Mexico City joins others in banning animals in circuses

Protest against the arrival of Ringling Bros. Circus in Mexico
Activists from the animal rights group AnimaNaturalis protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.
(Sashenka Gutierrez / European Pressphoto Agency)

If you plan to watch a circus in Mexico’s capital, you better really like clowns and acrobats.

Reacting to allegations of abuse, Mexico City politicians voted overwhelmingly on Monday to prohibit the use of animals at circuses. Owners of circuses will have roughly a year to alter their shows before the law is enforced.

Authorities will levy substantial fines — up to about $70,000 — and confiscate animals from circuses that do not abide by the law. The law reportedly does not apply to other activities involving animals such as rodeos.

The vote by Mexico City’s legislative assembly wasn’t close, with 41 politicians favoring the law, none voting against it and 11 abstaining. Now Mexico City, with more than 20 million residents, and six Mexican states — Colima, Guerrero, Morelos, Yucatan, Chiapas and Zacatecas — prohibit the use of animals in circuses.


The law does not force the circuses to get rid of the animals, but they cannot be used in shows.

In a press conference, Jesus Sesma, the politician who pushed the law, described it as promoting “a respect for living beings who are not human.”

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