Banning animal circuses in Greece

2012 was a milestone year for animal welfare in Greece! After a six year campaign run by led by Animal Action Greece and Animal Defenders International (ADI), and backed by over 50 Greek local animal protection groups, the Greek Government finally passed a law banning the use of all animals in circuses. 

The ban came after our continuous efforts of pressuring the government, especially after our collection of 15,000 signatures urging the Ministry of Rural Development and Foods to put an end to this horrible practice. As a result, in 2015 Greece proudly became the second country in Europe to ban all animals in circuses! 

Evgenia Mataragka of the Animal Action Greece, based in Athens said: “We are delighted that Greece has said no to cruelty in the name of entertainment. We have witnessed terrible suffering of animals in traveling circuses here and these animals often have to endure long journeys by sea from Italy. Many municipalities have already banned animal circuses in Greece, so we believe that this will be a popular with Greek people.”

Tim Phillips of ADI, who launched the Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Greece in 2006 said: “In circuses in Greece we saw horrific suffering. I remember a hippo living in a small, filthy cage on the back of a lorry with a stinking pool barely bigger than a bath tub to wallow in. This is a great day for animal protection in Greece and indeed Europe. We applaud the Greek Government for taking a strong, unequivocal stand against animal suffering in circuses.”

Greece became the second country, behind Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Europe to ban all animals from circuses. Bolivia was the first country to ban all animals from circuses and, in February 2011. 

Animal Action Greece and ADI have said they are committed to assisting the Greek Government with enforcing the ban.

  • View our Greek Stop Circus Suffering video here– warning contains disturbing images of violence to animals
  • Read about the Animal Action Greece & ADI campaign here


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