France to Ban Using Wild Animals in Marine Parks and Circuses

France to Ban Using Wild Animals in Marine Parks and Circuses

It seems that caging dolphins and killer whales, displaying bears, lions, tigers and elephants for circus performances, and farming mink for fur, will be a thing of the past!

The French Ministry of Environment has declared a measured prohibition to these harmful activities, therefore keeping animal welfare as an utmost priority. Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition, emphasizes that travelling circuses and marine parks need a smooth passage in leaving these spectacles behind. The ban will take several years to be fully implemented because, according to Ms. Pompili, each animal will need a different type of care. Furthermore, this ban will alter the lives of many employees working in circuses and other related wild animal shows, which is why an 8-million Euro package will be implemented to encourage them to find other jobs.

In her announcement, Ms. Pompili said that a smooth transition is necessary: “Our attitude to wild animals has changed. It is time to open a new era in our relationship with them. We are asking circuses to reinvent themselves. That transition will be spread over several years because it will change the lives of many people.”

This decision was met with a division of opinions. On one side of the coin, animals rights groups applauded the states’ willingness to drive it forth, with PETA writing on their Twitter (In French): “Champagne bottles are being uncorked! Thank you to all those who have helped bring this victory to light.”

On the other hand, Circus owners and employees, whose lives will be most impacted by the announcement, are frustrated that they are not being listened to, and are concerned about the aftermath of the whole ordeal.  William Kerwich, the director of the Circus Trainer’s Union and owner of his own entertainment unit (Cirque ROYAL Kerwich), told a news outlet that [Ms. Pomplili] did not take everything into account: “She didn’t want to listen to us. Who is going to pay for the meat for the lions and tigers and the food for the elephants? Circuses will have to abandon their animals and the minister will be responsible.”

Certainly, a decision of this calibre needs not be taken lightly, because there are many lives at stake. Those of circus and marine park employees and owners, who will have to fend for financial alternatives to keep their businesses running and their jobs relevant, or to find other means of employment altogether, with the current qualifications they have. Most importantly, the lives of the wild animals, who have (likely) been domesticated and cannot easily be reintroduced into the wild.

For this very reason, the ban will need several years to take a full-on effect. It needs to be done thoroughly, and with a comprehensive plan. Wild animals do not belong in cages and do not exist for our entertainment. Moreover, they are not to be mistreated, abused or kept in disastrous conditions. Yet, the voices of everyone that has a stake in the wild animal entertainment industry still need to be heard.

3 Sustainable Tourism Businesses to Inspire You on World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day 2020 is dedicated to the topic of Tourism and Rural Development, reminding us of the important role tourism often carries in awakening rural areas around the world. Rural tourism not only drives economic development and creates job opportunities, but contributes to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage that could otherwise be damaged or, even worse, permanently lost. When developing tourism, it is utterly important to do it in a sustainable manner. Let’s take a look at three tourism businesses that managed to incorporate a great number of sustainable practices and develop not only a great tourism business but create an added value to the whole community. 

  1. Rancho Margot Eco Lodge in El Castillo, Costa Rica is an “off the grid paradise” that incorporated sustainability values in every aspect of their business; over 75% of food is grown, harvested, and prepared at the lodge and consumed by workers, residents, and guests on-site; on-site bio-digesters treat the animal waste and produce fertilizers for the ranch; all electricity comes from onsite hydroelectric generators and solar panels; green roofs are used to manage temperature and the natural landscape. Besides ensuring that every part of the lodge itself is maintained sustainably, the activities offered to their visitors also promote sustainability, such as participating in on-farm activities like cow milking or immersion programs that teach how to incorporate sustainability in various aspects of your own life.
  2. Albergo Diffuso Volterra in Tuscany, Italy has fully embraced “a model of sustainable hospitality and sustainable food, oriented to the future, good for man and the planet.” Their restaurants are 100% plant-based, with all products coming from small local farms and “without damage” in terms of animal exploitation and pollution due to intensive farming practices. When eating at their Bistro, the concept “food by weight” is applied as it allows customers to eat according to their appetite and avoid food waste. The electricity they use is exclusively from renewable and Italian resources, with all the lightning being entirely LED, while all cleaning products are natural and environmentally sustainable. They are eager to protect and promote local history and culture, and inspire their visitors to do the same via participation on tours by 100% electric cars, bike, ebike or a sailing boat.
  3. Agriturismo Refugio Marnes in Alicante, Spain is agritourism passionate about environment and determent to prove that sustainable tourism in Spain is possible. Their high-tech solar power system ensures a 99% solar-powered holiday; they pay great attention to water and waste management and recycle 85% of all their waste; they prefer stylish design based on earthly materials and they tend to live under the principle of “act local / buy local”. Their mission is not only to be sustainable but to teach it. Therefore, they organize educational workshops and campaigns determined to promote alternative means of travel (instead of flying), local activities, and environmental practices, such as reduced plastic usage.

Happy World Tourism Day!