The deputies examine Tuesday, January 26 a bill on animal welfare. A text that focuses on pets, with stiffer penalties when their owners take care of them badly. This project also concerns wild animals: amendments call for their progressive ban in dolphinariums, on television sets or in traveling circuses. Guest of franceinfo, while he was demonstrating in front of the National Assembly, William Kerwich, president of the French Syndicate of Circus and Show Animal Capacitors (SFCACS), denounces a “Arbitrary bill: the profession talks about a ‘genocirque’, we are killing our profession.”
>> DIRECT. National Assembly: watch the debate around the proposed law against animal abuse
franceinfo: Do you have the impression that your job is animal abuse?
William Kerwich: We are very shocked by this bill, which is, for us, arbitrary. With us, there is no mistreatment. We therefore called on the deputy LREM Loïc Dombreval (veterinarian and co-author of the bill) to remove this title which could influence the deputies on a vote which would be arbitrary. We ask: are you for or against mistreatment in circuses? But with us, there is no proven or proven mistreatment. So, these are just the ideologies of these environmentalists and animalists. But this is not the reality.
However, in the training of your animals, there is a learning process that involves physical measures, sometimes with whips …
No, these are the arguments of the associations: the whips, the bars, (animals) in chains. Today, we are not talking about training, we are talking about education. There is a bond between man and animal. These defamations must be stopped. We are not under duress. We are on a complicity of training and presentation of these animals at our shows. These are still hearsay and false accusations.
In the text of the law, we speak of “traveling” circuses, which implies in particular the way in which your animals are kept in cages during transport …
Today in France, there are very strict regulations on the transport of circus animals. So we have a state diploma, the Certificate of aptitude for the transport of live animals (CAPTAV), which is a ferry diploma to provide a guarantee of animal welfare for transport. We have transport authorizations which are issued by the Ministry of Ecology on a limit of transport hours where we must water our animals. So on transport, there are all guarantees on the well-being of our animals. And there are also controls on the vehicles, which must be adapted for the transport of each animal. I think Barbara Pompili, when she mentioned homelessness, she does not know her file as Minister ofEecology. This is why we are protesting today. It has been very supervised and regulated since 1985 and it is something that for us is a summons, especially from a minister who is not familiar with the regulations already in force.
The very principle of keeping a tiger or an elephant in a cage, is that not a problem for you?
So the elephants are not in cages, but in enclosures which are governed by the Ministry ofEecology. And today, it’s the same for big cats. We have vehicles to transport our animals from one location to another. The decree of 2011 gives regulations on the surface area per square meter for our animals, with compulsory outdoor recreation parks. If we do not respect these standards, we can take our animals away. We must stop saying that they are locked up, in chains or behind bars.
In your opinion, if these animals are taken away from you, the economy of the circus companies collapses?
The profession speaks of a “genocirque”. We are killing our profession. They want us to kill our profession. That is why we are here demonstrating, because it is all very arbitrary. In this bill, we are told that our animals and our diplomas will be taken away from us. (…) We are not here on a debate or on improving animal welfare. We are not here to find solutions, but to ban and kill a profession.