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Europe moves to support circuses that follow best practice

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FILE PHOTO: Elephants perform during a rehearsal for new show of Swiss National-Circus Knie in Rapperswil
FILE PHOTO: Elephants perform during a rehearsal for new show of Swiss National-Circus Knie in Rapperswil   -   Copyright  REUTERS Arnd Wiegmann
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Touring circuses have a 250-year-old history in Europe, often visiting as many as a hundred sites a year.

A European lawmaker has launched an initiative to recognise circuses who abide by best practices with a special award.

“It’s part of our European culture,” said Hungarian MEP Istvan Ujhelyi, who believes the support of EU institutions is vital to their survival.

“They need us”.

Three circuses from Finland, Hungary and Switzerland were rewarded this Friday at a ceremony held at the European Parliament.

Criteria include staff protection, animal welfare, and tax compliance.

There are a total of 50 touring circuses in Europe, and six have received the label so far.