“Only the same non-free people can look at animals from cages”: the history of the Odessa circus


For the first time in Ukraine, a stationary circus was banned from performances with the participation of animals. “Yod” talked to animal rights activists, a zoopsychologist, and representatives of three circuses to determine if this decision is already a revolution or is it still far away?

While the country was marching in the protection of animals, the Odessa District Administrative Court on September 17 forbade the State Circus of the same city to keep, use or place wild animals.

The ban will remain in effect until conditions are created that “correspond to the individual and biological characteristics of wild animals.”

“The representative of the defendant (circus – author) admitted that it is impossible to create such conditions in the Odessa circus. Therefore, from now on, the Odessa circus should become the first stationary circus without wild animals,” activists of the public organization “Vidkriti klitky” wrote on their Facebook page. They filed a claim in court.

Why Odessa Circus?

A year ago, the environmental inspectorate issued an order to the Odessa Circus and banned the use of wild animals in performances. During the year, inspectors drew up administrative protocols and recorded violations of the rule. After meeting a sufficient number of violations, environmental activists went to court.

“At the last inspection, the inspectors found that the animals were kept in inappropriate conditions. By law, it is forbidden to use wild animals in the circus unless they were provided with living conditions similar to their natural habitat,” says Elena Marchenko, leader of the animal rights initiative group. “It is also forbidden to keep animals in cages, but the circus cannot provide them with enclosures.”

According to her, in circuses, the norms of the minimum areas in which animals live are often violated.

“Animals suffer, cannot fulfill their natural and genetic needs. At one of the circus inspections, I saw that bears live in a cage 1.60-1.70-1.35 m in size. And the norm is an aviary, a fenced plot of land not less than 30 square meters, “says Marchenko.

“Why the Odessa circus? Because there have always been adverse conditions for animals, partly because the circus building was built 138 years ago, so it is impossible to create the appropriate conditions.

The circus administration admits this – the defendant’s representative in the court hearing agreed with this opinion, “says Svetlana Rudenko, an ecoactivist and lawyer who took part in the hearing of the Odessa circus case.

According to her, if the circus violates the court’s decision, they will seek a ban on the institution’s economic activities. But the entertainment seems determined to stand its ground.

On Facebook, they have a statement that the shows with animals scheduled for the fall are not canceled. Read the full article here.