The use of wild animals in circuses

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Five countries – Austria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Israel and Singapore – have already implemented a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. In 2009 Bolivia went one step further and became the first country in the world to ban the use of all animal acts in circuses. However our Government recently stated that it would not be implementing a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses but would introduce a new licensing system instead. It argued that a ban could be challenged in the courts as disproportionate under the Human Rights Act 1998 and under the recent European Services Directive. This Comment assesses the likelihood of a successful legal challenge to a ban. Firstly it analyses the challenges to the Hunting Act 2004 under human rights law and applies the case law by analogy to a ban on wild animals in circuses; secondly, it examines the case law on Article 49 of the EC Treaty (which prohibits restrictions on the free movement of services) as well as the wording incorporated into the new European Services Directive which builds on the Article 49 case law. It concludes that a ban in England will not be unlawful under human rights law or the law of the European Union.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWeb Journal of Current Legal Issues
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2011


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