Thursday 20 January 2022

MPs to vote on circus elephant ‘deportation’, minister wants to move Buba to France

Buba was still performing in 2015. Photo: Olivier Middendorp via ANP

The fate of the Netherlands’ last circus elephant lies in the hands of farm minister Carola Schouten, who will decide next week if the animal should stay with the circus family who own her, or if she should be moved to a sanctuary in France.

MPs are due to vote on the issue on Tuesday after a motion was filed by CDA MP Martijn van Helvert and the anti-immigration PVV to halt the move. They argue it would be cruel to move the elephant to a new location.

The Netherlands imposed a ban on performances by wild animals in 2015, and since then the elephant has travelled with the circus but not been used for shows.

Last week Schouten said she was looking into lifting the exemption for Buba, because a circus is not an appropriate place for an elephant. One option is an elephant sanctuary in France, which would be a ‘more natural environment,’ the minister said.

Some MPs, however, say the elephant should stay with the family because otherwise she may become lonely and pine away. Buba is the last circus elephant in the Netherlands ‘so we should not worry that this will set a precedent,’  MP Van Helvert said.

The elephant, now aged around 45, has reportedly been with the circus since she was two.

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