Spain’s Madrid Says Goodbye To Circuses With Animals In 2020

The City Council of Madrid passed the landmark bill last year to ban all wild animal circuses in Spain’s capital.

In a turning point for animal activists, the City Council of Madrid voted to ban wild-animal circuses, recognising that these exhibits don’t meet “animals’ physiological, mental, and social needs” or respect their welfare.

Animals such as tigers, lions, and elephants will no longer be kept in cages or trailers, hauled from site to site, and forced to perform meaningless tricks to entertain circus goers in the Spanish capital.

The ban, supported by Ahora Madrid, PSOE and Ciudadanos and rejected by the PP, will come into force this April after the one-year moratorium approved by the City Council.

As Euro Weekly New understands, on November 15, the last circus with animals stopped in the capital to perform, Circo Quirós. The legal moratorium of one year means that circuses can continue with their traditional activity in Madrid, as they also look for venues outside the capital to redirect their activity. This last show which has elephants, horses, lions or tigers boasts to be “the largest collection of animals seen in a circus ring.”

According to the Circo Quirós circus manager all the animals in their show have “large enclosures to run and play,” an on-site vet, the animals are born in captivity and successfully pass all veterinary controls adding that the animals are “trained with prizes and love”.

However the facts show that the wild animals commonly abused in circuses are extremely stressed by circus conditions. The loud noise of the music, the cheers of the crowd and the dizzying lights all disorientate and cause stress to wild animals.

Over prolonged periods this can result in abnormal behaviours and health problems related to anxiety.

While it is possible that domesticated dogs could enjoy the stimulation of certain types of circus training and performance, for wild species such as elephants, tigers, bears and macaques, performing on stage is deeply traumatic.

The city of Madrid joins nine Spanish regions, including Catalonia and Valencia – as well as countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania, and Scotland – in banning wild-animal circuses. England unfortunately is lagging behind.


Author badge placeholder
Written by

Cristina Hodgson

Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page