On 29 December 2016 the city council of Viljandi approved a legal act according to which the city has a right to decline permits to circuses and other public events that exploit wild animals.
Viljandi’s decision follows a similar one by the cities of Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. The topic is currently being discussed also in the council of Kuressaare.
Estonian ministry of rural affairs is working on a draft to ban the use of all wild animals in circuses. Provided the draft is approved by the parliament, it will come into force on June 1, 2018.
In June this year, NGO animal advocacy organization Loomus welcomed the announcement by The Estonian Veterinary Association in support of banning wild animals in circuses.
“As a member of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the Estonian Veterinary Association has voted for banning the use of wild animals in traveling circuses,” confirmed Priit Koppel, the president of the Estonian Veterinary Association.
“Thus, we support the stances of the members of ENDCAP (the European Network to End the Keeping of Wild Animals in Captivity), the European leading network of animal organizations and live nature experts, and those of the members of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, which recommend all European countries to ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.”
23 countries in the world have established a total nation-wide ban on the use of wild animals or all animals in circuses. Nine European Union countries have clearly banned the use of all or wild animals in circuses; nine countries have established partial bans.