At least 70 circuses of the more than 200 registered in Mexico have closed their doors due to the new law banning animal performances, announced the president of the National Union of Circus Entrepreneurs and Performers Armando Cedeño Álvarez.

According to Cedeño, approximately 2,000 employees have lost their jobs and about 14,000 animals were left with no place to live since the law was passed in December, because even though the new law will only take effect on 9 July, many states are no longer allowing circuses to use animals in their shows.

The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources requested circuses to hand in a register of all their animals so that zoos around the country can decide and choose which and how many animals they could accept into their establishments. Animals that hadn’t been accepted into any zoo would be sent to conservation centres.

Or that was the idea, but it was not what happened. Now the future of thousands of animals is unknown as the zoos and reserves have no place or budget to take them in.

“More than 4,000 circus animals have an uncertain future as recent laws, passed both locally and federally, prohibit the use of animals in circuses but do not make clear what will be done with these species,” said local legislator Alejandro Ojeda last week.

“According to the National Union of Circus Entrepreneurs and Performers, animals are not being sent to zoos throughout the country because they don’t have the budget to take adequate care of those they already have, let alone will they have resources for others. In the case that animals were accepted, we would have to see how they interrelate with those already living there, as there is a risk of them being rejected and fights breaking out between them that might endanger their lives.”

Because of this uncertainty and the poor organization, some circuses are trying to sell their animals to individuals, which is of great concern because the idea was to free animals from a life of cruelty.

Ojeda also said that since their use was banned and because they have not yet been rescued, animals no longer leave their cages at all and their mental and physical well being is deteriorating.

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