On Tuesday 29 September, the French Minister of Ecology announced a progressive ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. As a fervent supporter of animal circuses, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco was quick to voice her opposition to the legislation. 

There will no longer be lions, tigers, or even elephants in travelling circuses. The French minister of Ecology, Barbara Pompili announced during a recent press conference that she would introduce a progressive ban on wild animals in travelling circuses throughout France.

“We should not generalise”

While many people welcomed the news, Princess Stéphanie, who is the president of the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival, publicly opposed the decision. In an interview with Monaco Matin, the sister of the reigning sovereign said that animal circuses were part of a “cultural tradition” and that the animals involved “were neither trained, nor mistreated. Simply loved, nourished and pampered”. While she acknowledged that there were cases of abuse, she warned that “we should not generalise”.

According to the Princess, contemporary circus has evolved. The dynamic is no longer centred around “a chair and a whip”. Princess Stéphanie does not hide that she is concerned for the future of Monte-Carlo’s International Circus Festival, which this year was cancelled due to the pandemic. “There are much more noble causes than trying to undermine traditional circuses. I think we’re a little too interested in animals and not concerned enough about humans”, she said, standing by her beliefs.