Standards Exhibiting Circus Animals in Nova Scotia

Standards Exhibiting Circus Animals in Nova Scotia


Posted: June 1999

Revised: July 2014





Clause 4 - SAFETY











Clause 15 - EUTHANASIA






Clause 21- GROOMING




  1. The Minister of Natural Resources, or designate, may cancel this Permit at any time by serving notice in writing to the address of the permit holder or in writing to the Circus Manager while travelling in Nova Scotia.
  2. Should this Permit be withdrawn for any reason, the Minister of Natural Resources shall not be held responsible for any costs or losses incurred by you by virtue of permission given to you by this Permit.
  3. The Minister of Natural Resources shall not be liable for any injury or damage (including death) to the person, or for the loss or damage to the property of the holder of this Permit in any manner based upon, occasioned by, or in any way attributable to the performance of any act under this Permit.
  4. The holder of this Permit shall at all times indemnify and save harmless the Minister of Natural Resources from and against all claims, demands, losses, costs, debts, damages, actions, suits or other proceedings by whomever made, sustained, brought or prosecuted in any manner based upon, occasioned by, arising out of or attributable in any way to the performance or purported performance of the holder of this Permit, his servants, agents, or independent contractors, of the activities authorized by this Permit.
  5. Any contractor or individual hired by or volunteering for the holder of this Permit must be informed of the Terms and Conditions herein stated, and adhere to them.


Animal: Any member of the vertebrates.

Behaviour: Any pattern of action and attitude assumed by an animal.

Big cats: A large member of the family Felidae.

Box: Any confinement facility that has a roof, four solid sides and a solid floor.

Bridging Signal: Any signal discernible by an animal and originating from a handler or trainer which informs the animal that a desired behaviour has been completed satisfactorily.

Cage: Any facility that enables close confinement of any animal and has at least one vertical side consisting of material that enables direct viewing of the contents of the facility.

Camelid: Any member of the camel family (e.g. Arabian Camel, Llama, Alpaca).

Carnivore: Any canid, felid or ursid.

Cetacean: Any whale (toothed or baleen).

Circus: Any mobile establishment in which animals held and exhibited therein are made to perform behaviours at the behest of human handler/trainers for the entertainment and/or education of members of the public.

Command Signal: Any signal discernible by an animal and originating from a handler or trainer which informs the animal that a given behaviour should be performed.

Disease: Any condition suffered by an animal such that normally accepted parameters of health are not met.

Distress: An animal is in distress where the animal is in need of adequate care, food, water or shelter or injured, sick, in pain, or suffering undue hardship, privation or neglect.

Display housing: Temporary stationary housing.

Domestic animal: Any of the various animals which have been domesticated by man, so as to commonly live and breed in a tame condition.

Enclosure: Any facility that, by use of physical barriers, enables loose confinement of any animal within a given area.

Fence: Any structure that comprises a vertical physical barrier used either to prevent passage or direct passage of any person or animal.

Flooring: The solid component on the bottom of any cage, stall, float or enclosure.

Handler: Any individual engaged to attend to the physical placement, translocation or restraint of any animal, or who controls animals in an exhibition situation without modifying any hitherto existing behaviours and who is responsible for all aspects of care, including handling.

Harness: The combination of straps, bands and other parts forming the working gear of a horse or other animal.

Holding park: A site containing permanent non-mobile facilities for the holding of circus animals which are not currently touring with the circus. This includes ex-circus animals, animals being trained, breeding animals, and trained animals not currently being used for performance.

Lay-over Site: A site where animals on tour with a circus are held while the circus temporarily ceases performances.

Negative reinforcement: Punishment for failure to perform a behaviour desired by the trainer.

Pinniped: Any seal, sea-lion or walrus.

Restraint: Any method, be it physical, chemical or behavioural, of preventing an animal from performing an act or movement that is deemed undesirable at the time.

Site: The area on which a circus is situated.

Straight stall: Any closely confining enclosure that does not permit a standing animal to turn around.

Stress: Occurs when the animal's mechanisms for coping with stressors have been over-extended and are breaking down. This frequently results in increases in the animal's susceptibility to disease and reduces its capacity to grow and reproduce. Signs of stress may include hair loss, dermatitis, weight loss, stereotypic behaviour, abnormal ingestion, scouring, increased incidence of disease, self-mutilation, abnormal activity levels, catatonia, depression, elevated aggression levels, inhibited digestion, a suppressed immune system, and elevated corticosteroid levels.

Stressor: Any factor that produces stress when it acts excessively, for example heat, cold, overcrowding, inadequate husbandry, social deprivation, pain, inability to exhibit characteristic behaviours.

Substrate: Any bedding or litter placed on the flooring of a cage, box, stall or enclosure.

Tethering: The tying of an animal to an anchorage.

Trainer: Any person who engages in interaction with an animal with the purpose of inducing that animal to perform a desired behaviour or to modify an existing behaviour in a desired fashion.

Transporter: Any wagon, truck, boat or van intended for the transport of an animal or animals.

Ungulate: Any hoofed animal.

Welfare: State of health and well-being which can be compromised by the effects of disease, injury, pain, stress and deprivation.



1.1 i) That a satisfactory application for each animal act was first submitted by the agent of the circus owner to the Director of Wildlife of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, at least two (2) months prior to the animals arriving in Nova Scotia. This application must include the following information for each animal;

  1. List of all activities each animal has to complete during the performances while in Nova Scotia. Copies of all health certificates, medical records, Federal import/export permits and any other documentation used to determine the particulars of the animal.

  2. Listing of construction materials, size and environment of each transport and display enclosure used for those species that are not listed in the Standards.

ii) That the animals will be transported to Nova Scotia in accordance with accepted national guidelines governing the health, welfare and safety of animals in transit.

iii) That the manager responsible for each act has ensured that each trainer understands the level of animal care expected under these standards. This may involve questioning of the manager responsible for each respective act by the Nova Scotia inspection team or its representative, to demonstrate the managers knowledge of this document.

iv) That upon entry into Nova Scotia the animals were examined by a licensed veterinarian within six (6) months of the date of entry, knowledgeable with the animals involved, and that each individual animal was certified as being in good health prior to training and performance recommencing.

v) All applications to import animals by a circus must be accompanied by a register of all animals involved, documenting individual ownership and identification.

vi) A letter signed by the Manager of each venue in Nova Scotia that is hosting the activities of the permit holder, indicating that venue Management is able and willing to provide the import permit holder with the required minimum space as outlined in the Standards.

vii) Written documentation that circus management has advised the local police force for each venue of the types of firearms, ammunitions and drugs held at the venue must remain with the circus, confirmation may be requested during the inspection.

viii) The Operator at its own expense, shall purchase and maintain in full force insurances to protect itself, it contractors and sub-contractors, the Province of Nova Scotia, their successors and assigns and their respective directors, officers, employees, agents, and servants directly involved in the transporting, commercial showing or storage of domestic, wild animals or show animals approved by the Department of Natural Resources to enter the Province of Nova Scotia.

Such Insurances shall provide commercial general liability protection for liabilities arising out of property damage, personal injury and bodily injury including death resulting from any activity connected with the existence, management, or operation of animal management as defined within the DNR regulations governing such activities. Coverage shall be written on an occurrence basis with a limit of liability of not less than 2 million Canadian dollars per occurrence. It is further understood such coverage shall be extended or endorsed to include coverage related to expenses arising from cost associated with or incurred by DNR, Municipal Police forces, RCMP or any other Provincial or Municipal Government agencies in the re-capture of animals which may escape.

The operator shall add the province of Nova Scotia as an additional Insured.

Certified copies of all commercial liability insurance policies or related documentation, in form and content acceptable to the Province of Nova Scotia, shall be delivered to the Department of Natural Resources as part of the application but not later than 15 days prior to entry into the Province of Nova Scotia.

ix) All applications to import animals by circuses must be accompanied by a written escape/recapture plan.


1. A complete recapture plan is required for elephants and large felid (normal adult weight 20 kg and over). Such plan is needed for each species and to include the following:

  • List each animal in the group and identify.
  • Names of handler/trainer, back-up handler/trainer and individual(s) in charge of recapture party.
  • The name of circus chief of security.
  • List of equipment on site for recapture and euthanasia such as dart equipment, firearms, net, etc.
  • List of drug dosages for each animal as provided by the circus veterinarian.
  • Drugs listed must be those carried by the circus or readily used in a veterinary practice.
  • List of communication devices used within the recapture party, including phone numbers and radio frequencies.
  • Confirmation that a veterinarian in close proximity to each venue will be available to provide necessary drugs and supervises delivery of such drugs.

2. List at what point after an escape the Authorities will be notified and by whom, as required in Clause 4 - 4.4

3. A supplementary list of available equipment used for crowd control and recapture such as: vehicles, PA system, etc.

4. A statement outlining how the venue and circus security staff will coordinate activities in the event of an escape.

5. List of all available personnel and clearly indicate associated responsibilities/duties.



2.1. Based on the information provided under 1.1. i), the Director of Wildlife has the Authority to determine any species, act, housing conditions or other as not suitable for performing animals in Nova Scotia and subsequently may deny the Import Permit application.2.2. Only circus animals that are being trained to perform and/or performing on a regular basis are permitted to be held by touring circuses. Existing non-performing animals where possible shall be relocated to a suitable new environment.

2.2. Traveling circuses shall not include retired performing animals for breeding purposes.

2.3. Personal pets may be held by circus personnel where the animal is a recognized domestic species. Self-regulation must be exercised by circus management in the care and housing of such domestic pets and must comply with the Nova Scotia Animal Cruelty Prevention Act and any other relevant Legislation.

2.4. Hybrid animals (excluding the donkey/horse cross -'mule') are not considered appropriate animals for circuses.

2.5. Different species capable of cross-mating must not be housed together. This clause does not apply while animals are performing or being trained together in the circus ring. Any progeny from accidental matings must not be exhibited.

2.6. Social species shall not be exhibited as single specimens unless compelling reasons can be shown, and only on an interim basis, and only when all measures to mitigate the detrimental effects of isolation have been undertaken.

2.7. Species Groups

2.7.A. Big Cats

In captivity, the urge to hunt must be sublimated, otherwise boredom and the associated behavioural problems may set in. Training big cats to perform behaviours on command may offset boredom. The natural instincts being utilized during training include:

  • The instinct for lions to work as a team.The expenditure of physical energy.The performance of certain physical movements, such as running, leaping, jumping, etc.
  • The anticipation of reward.

Other big cats may be less suitable than lions, as lions are unique in being a social cat species. Most other big cats are solitary species who do not seek prolonged close physical contact with other individuals of their species.

2.7.B. Dogs

Dogs are hierarchical pack animals that respond very well to being controlled by a human. Because of their long standing association with humans and the bonds they form with them, they are no longer considered to be held in captivity.

2.7.C. Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

Some species of equine, ungulates and camelids are considered domesticated by society at large. Their prolonged contact and co-existence with humans has rendered them tractable. Humans have also developed a good body of knowledge and a high level of stockmanship with these animals.

For the purposes of this document comments concerning equine and ungulates cover the commonly held circus ungulates (horses, donkeys, ponies, zebras, sheep, cattle and goats). Comments concerning camelids include camels, llamas and alpacas.

2.7.D. Elephants

Male elephants periodically undergo a condition known as "musth" in which they are more aggressive and sexually active. Because of this it is recommended that circuses performing in Nova Scotia do not hold bull elephants.

Elephants are intelligent, inquisitive and social creatures, and therefore circuses must not maintain single elephants. Elephants kept in circuses must be supplied with mental stimulation, avenues of play and social contact with other elephants. Regular training will provide some of the necessary stimulation, providing the training is based on positive reinforcement only. This training should involve the introduction of new behaviours and the modification of existing routines.

It is unacceptable to tether elephants via the use of metal leg bands and chains, therefore any circus considering holding elephants must be competent in containing elephants via the use of electric fencing for the majority of daylight hours every day. For safety reasons only padded tethers, with a minimum of one swivel to prevent tangling, will be allowed at night, during storms, when the elephant trainer/handler is temporarily absent from the circus, and in emergency situations.

The use of elephants for public rides is strictly prohibited as such activity unnecessarily increases the possibility of zoonosis and human injury.

2.7.E. Birds

The need in birds for large display cages to allow natural flight and their nervous nature around humans generally renders them unsuitable animals for circuses. The exceptions to this are domesticated pigeons and doves, domestic poultry and parrots.

Parrots can be suitable circus animals as they are intelligent enough to associate the performance of desired behaviours with obtaining a reward. In a display situation, these birds may amuse themselves by performing for passers-by, and thus avoid boredom.

In the case of domesticated pigeons and doves, their long association with humans have rendered them less stressed due to handling, making them more suitable birds for the circus environment.

2.7.F. Reptiles

Where local bylaws allow reptiles to be held, the only reptile species permitted to be held by circuses are pythons and boa's, as they are considered to be traditional circus animals. The circus must hold more than a single animal of each species to allow for rotational use of a number of animals. To reduce the possibility of zoonosis, the public must never be able to touch the animals and the animals must never touch a surface the public may then use.

2.7.G. Bears

Circuses may not hold bears.

2.7.H. Pinnipeds

Circuses may not hold pinnipeds.

2.7.I. Amphibians

Circuses may not hold amphibian species.

2.7.J. Fish

Circuses may not hold fish species.

2.7.K. Cetacea

Circuses may not hold cetacea species.

2.7.L. Primates

Circuses may not hold non-human primate species.



Display sites

3.1. The circus proprietor/manager shall only choose display sites which maximize the size of the temporary housing dimensions available to the animals. At all times the display dimensions available to the animals must not fall below the minimum sizes set out in this document.

3.2. Animals must not be housed on a sealed surface (eg. asphalt, concrete, etc.). The only instances where this is allowable is where the sealed surface is first covered by a suitable material which will absorb the heat and cold effects of the sealed surface.

3.3. It is permissible for animals to be housed off site in alternative suitable and adequately spaced areas when animal husbandry demands or when staging performances at indoor venues.

Animal care

3.4. During all stages of animal performance, the audience must be encouraged to treat the animals with respect. The trainers and handlers have a responsibility to demonstrate respect, knowledge and humane treatment of the animals.

3.5. Animals must be provided with shelter from climatic extremes at all times, and access to potable drinking water must be available to all animals when the circus is not in motion.

3.6. Trainers/handlers should be encouraged to have a long tenure with their animals in order to develop a solid relationship with their charges.


4.1. All circuses must have mobile communications, enabling fast access to police, ambulance and veterinarians.

4.2. All circuses must have a maintained inventory of emergency medical supplies.

4.3. All applications to import animals by circuses must include a written escape/recapture plan. These plans should be reviewed on a regular basis and a drill held once a month so all employed circus staff are aware of the plans and how to put them into action if it becomes necessary.

4.4. The escape of any animal entering under the wildlife import permit must immediately be reported to the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, the Chief Investigator of the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty and the local Police Department.

4.5. The following is the minimum list of darting equipment required and which is to be under the immediate control of the animal handler at all times for any animal imported into the province under the permit.

  • Dart gun must be in good working condition and be effective to a minimum distance of 100' or 30 metres. Multiple dart needles of such length as required for each species. Multiple dart barrels of such volume as required for each species and deemed appropriate for drug used.
  • All associated equipment necessary in the preparation of darts and use of dart gun.
The animal handler must be able to demonstrate proficiency with the above equipment.

4.6. Entrances to the circus ring and exercise yards containing non-domestic animals must be installed so that the gate or door swings inwards.

4.7. All animals held by the circus must at all times be under direct supervision of a handler qualified under clause 3.6.

4.8. The circus ring must be adequately illuminated during any period in which animals are housed within, and warning signs must be placed on entrance doors into the ring to advise that animals are in the ring where this occurs outside of performance times.

4.9. Stand-off barriers with a minimum distance of two (2) meters beyond the maximum reach of the animals must be in place when animals in display housing can be approached by the general public.

4.10. Any incident involving the death of a person or injury to a person that requires medical treatment, if the death or injury was caused by an animal held under the permit, must immediately be reported to the local Police Department, the Department of Natural Resources, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty.



5.1. A regular stop must be made after a maximum duration of 2 = hours of travel in order to inspect the animals and their facilities, offer potable water to all animals, and offer feed if necessary. (Water should be removed from the facilities prior to the convoy resuming motion).

5.2. There must be a stationary period of no less than 12 hours in any 24 hour period when moving between venues and/or lay-over sites.

5.3. Each vehicle carrying animals must be fitted with mobile communication.

5.4. If animal transportation vehicles stop for longer than a fifteen (15) minute period in an area away from a populated area, transporters must be opened to allow fresh air to enter the animals quarters, when weather permits.

5.5. All circuses in Nova Scotia must provide facilities to enable appropriate transport of their animals from venue to venue. These facilities must include adequate ventilation for the animals and such adequate ventilation is generally considered to be twelve-fifteen (12-15) complete air exchanges per hour.

5.6. When circuses are at lay-over sites and/or performance venue, they must ensure that the animal housing provided complies with the standards for display housing as outlined in this document.

5.7. When any circus animals are held in holding parks (eg. retired animals, breeding animals, or display animals being rested), animal housing must be provided which satisfies the requirements for each species set out in accordance with Regulation under that jurisdiction.

5.8. Circuses must comply with all other transport requirements not specific to circus transportation.

5.9. Species Groups

5.9A. Big Cats

A.1 Since big cats tend to defecate in one given area of the cage, the food presentation and sleeping areas should be set as far away as possible from these areas to prevent fecal contamination of food and bedding. Where cats are seen not to practice this sort of 'cage discipline', containers and bedding must be raised above cage floor level.

A.2. Flooring in the cages must be waterproof and graded to enable quick drainage and drying after cleaning. Hardwood planking is the minimum acceptable flooring material as this material is very difficult to keep hygienically clean. A new material that has been a success recently is the use of steel plating covered in a waterproof plastic coating. Straw bedding which is to be changed a minimum of twice daily, will provide adequate insulation and padding. Flooring must be maintained in good condition.

A.3 All facilities which house carnivores must only allow access through a double locked door which allows clear vision into the enclosure. The animals must be excluded from the area before the keeper/handler enters.

A.4 Transport facilities which hold carnivores must provide adequate insulation material to protect from environmental extremes while still maintaining adequate ventilation into the transporter.

A.5 The transport compartment for each big cat must provide enough space to allow the animal to assume normal standing posture, lie down fully stretched, and turn around, without physical contact with the holding cage and neighbouring animals.

5.9.B. Dogs

B.1 Dogs must not be transported unrestrained on the backs of open vehicles.

5.9.C. Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1 Equine, ungulates & camelids must be conveyed in transporters which have internal partitioning (stalls) to safely restrain each individual animal. The transporter must have an available roofing material to provide shade and shelter from rain or other inclement weather. The transporter must be solid sided with apertures to admit light and adequate ventilation, and allow visual inspection of all animals contained within.

C.2 Equine, ungulates and camelids of the same size housed together for transportation are not required to be provided with separate stalls. Where animals are of differing sizes and weights separate stalls must be provided to eliminate crushing of smaller animals. Under both methods of transportation, stalling and group housing, each animal must be sufficiently contained so that it cannot turn around. As added protection for horses and ponies a padded breast bar is compulsory within each stall.

C.3 Feed cribs may only be used if they cannot cause the animals injury in any way.

C.4 Equine and ungulates must not be held solely in their transporters while the circus is at a performance site. The exceptions to this are when the transporter is the best form of shelter for a sick animal, or in inclement weather, in which case proper bedding and hygienic conditions must be maintained.

C.5 For transportation of camels the floor of the transportation vehicle must not be constructed in a manner which will injure the pedicel and the pads on rear legs. The base of the transportation vehicle should be free of protrusions which would discourage the camels from sitting down during transportation, As camels normally sit during transportation, if they are to be tethered, the tether must be of sufficient length to allow their free movement up and down.

C.6. Transport facilities which hold ungulates must provide protection from environmental extremes while maintaining adequate ventilation.

5.9.D. Elephants

D.1 Except in short-term exceptional circumstances elephants must be carried in enclosed transporters. Such transporter must be strong enough to withstand the weight of an elephant either leaning or being thrown against the side walls. They must be well ventilated to prevent build-up of heat and waste gases.

D.2 During transportation each elephant must be sufficiently contained so that it can stand up normally but is unable to turn around thereby causing itself possible injury. This can be achieved by stalling each individual elephant or housing each elephant side by side across the width of their transportation vehicle. Nothing that can cause injury to an elephant must be present inside the transportation vehicle. The vehicle must allow adequate and safe inspection of all elephants being transported.

D.3 During transportation, dry fodder may be offered to elephants provided it is contained in a feed crib that is within easy reach of the animals, but that cannot cause the elephants injury in any way.

D.4. The compound must have access to sunlight and shade from direct sunlight during daylight hours. Drinking water and shelter from climatic extremes must be provided at all times to satisfy the needs of all the elephants held within the compound. The ground underfoot must be clean, well drained, non-abrasive, not stony and not slippery when wet. Water features to allow cooling and bathing and dry sand or soil for dusting should be available to the animals at all times. The use of rubber mats with a minimum thickness of 12mm may be used and must cover a minimum area of 10% of the required enclosure size. The area covered by the mats must provide shade from direct sunlight and access to drinking water. Such mats must be placed no closer then three (3) meters from any electrical fence.

5.9.E. Birds

E.1. During transportation birds must be contained in small cages to provide physical protection.

E.2. A perch must be provided that is high enough above the cage floor that the bird using the perch has all extremities (including feathers) at least six (6) centimetres above the cage floor regardless of the posture of the bird.

E.3. The cage must be large enough that the bird contained can extend its head, feet, wingtips and any feathers, and be able to turn around regardless of its posture, whether or not it is on its perch, without touching any cage walls, ceiling or solid cage furniture.

E.4. Transport facilities which hold birds must provide protection from environmental extremes while maintaining adequate ventilation.



6.1. Exercise facilities for animals are mandatory and must be provided at each venue. Wherever possible the display dimensions should be maximized, the dimensions outlined in this document for each animal are minimum sizes only. Transporters shall not be used for display housing.

6.2. Where animal trailers form the basis for the display facilities they must contain platforms raised off floor level which are to be kept dry and clean, providing an area that the animals can retreat to while the floor is cleaned and while it dries.

6.3. The minimum heights indicated are to meet the special requirements of each species. This minimum height does not necessarily assure secure containment, which is the sole responsibility of the proprietor.

6.4. Species Groups

6.4.A. Big Cats

A.1. When at a performance site, big cats must have free access to display housing at all times, exclusive of performing and training time. Such exercise areas must provide the cats with access to the ground (ie. natural substrate) and arrangements for proper disposal of such substrate must be in place prior to vacating the venue site.


Minimum Display Dimensions for Big Cats
Minimum floor space for one animal 20 m2 or 215 ft2
Floor space for each additional animal 10 m2 or 105 ft2
Minimum height 3.0 m or 10 ft.
Minimum width 3.6 m or 12 ft.

A.3 Any display housing facility for big cats must have the capacity to mount, either within or outside of the transporter or outside the cage, a suitable cage to enable safe physical restraint for veterinary examination or administration of drugs.

A.4 Big cat display enclosures must have access to sunlight and shade from direct sunlight during daylight hours. Potable drinking water and shelter from environmental extremes must be provided at all times, to satisfy the needs of all the cats housed within.

A.5 Access to the animals must be through a double locked door which allows clear vision into the enclosure. The animals must be excluded from the area into which the handler/keeper is entering.

6.4.B. Dogs


Minimum Display Dimensions for Dogs
Small/Medium Dogs
(Under 15 kg - 33 lbs)

Large Dogs
(Over 15 kg - 33 lbs)

Minimum floor space for one pair

4.5 m2 or 50 ft2

6 m2 or 65 ft2
Increased floor space for each additional animal

2.25 m2 or 25 ft2

3 m2 or 30 ft2
Minimum width
3 m or 10 ft

3 m or 10 ft

B.2 The enclosure material must be suitably strong to contain the dogs.

B.3 Where dogs are confined via the use of running leashes, see Clause 20.B.1. for minimum requirements.

B.4. The area in which the dogs are kept while not performing must have access to sunlight and shade from direct sunlight during daylight hours. Potable drinking water and shelter from climatic extremes must be provided at all times of the day to satisfy the needs of all the dogs.

6.4.C. Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1. Equine, ungulates and camelids must be confined in a compound by ordinary or electric fencing when at the performance site.


Minimum Display Enclosure Sizes for the Common Circus Equine and Ungulates
Zebra/ Horse/ Donkey/
Camel/ Pony
Area for one animal 100 m2 or 1,050 ft2 50 m2 or 525 ft2
Additional animal 50 m2 or 525 ft2 25 m2 or 260 ft2
Minimum width 6 m or 20 ft 2.5 m or 8 ft

C.3 The compound must have access to sunlight and shade from direct sunlight during daylight hours. Potable drinking water and shelter from climatic extremes must be provided at all times to satisfy the needs of all the ungulates held within the compound. The ground underfoot must be clean, well-drained, non-abrasive and not stony.

C.4 The display compound must contain no known harmful ingestibles within the animal's reach.

* Camels and goats in particular tend to be indiscriminate browsers, with the consequence that any access to poisonous plants or harmful materials (such as plastic bags) may have adverse affects.

C.5 Under some circumstances the tethering of ungulates for short periods of time is acceptable. See Clause 19.1.C.1. for minimum requirements.

C.6 Horses and ponies may be contained via the use of stabling where the use of outdoor compounds is not available. In these instances stables must be at least 2.5 m (8.0 ft) high, with a minimum floor area of 12 m2 (130 ft2) for one horse, and 9 m2 (100 ft2) for one pony. Within the stables the animals must not be tethered and must have visual contact with others of their species. Appropriate bedding and drainage must be provided and the stables must be adequately ventilated, with lighting that is as natural as possible.

6.4.D. Elephants

D.1 Elephants must be confined in a compound by electric fencing for the majority of daylight hours when at the performance site.


Minimum Display Dimensions for Asiatic Elephants
Single or pair of Elephants
600 m2 or 6,500 ft2
Each extra Elephant
200 or 2,150 ft2
Minimum width
10 m or 32 ft

D.3 Under some circumstances the tethering of elephants for short periods of time is acceptable. See Clause 20.1.D.1. for minimum requirements.

D.4 The compound must have access to sunlight and shade from direct sunlight during daylight hours. Drinking water and shelter from climatic extremes must be provided at all times to satisfy the needs of all the elephants held within the compound. The ground underfoot must be clean, well drained, non-abrasive, not stony and not slippery when wet. Water features to allow cooling and bathing and dry sand or soil for dusting should be available to the animals at all times.

6.4.E. Birds

E.1 Once the circus has arrived at the performance venue, birds must be released as soon as possible from their traveling cages into their display cages.

E.2 Perches must consist of uneven diameter natural tree branches which do not have an abrasive surface. At least one perch per bird in the cage shall be of a sufficient height above the floor of the cage that all tail feathers of the bird are at least 6 cm (2.5") above the floor of the cage, regardless of the posture of the bird.

E.3 If the species held in a cage is capable of flight the dimensions of the cage must be sufficient for a bird of that species to be able to attain active flight within the cages by taking 5 unhurried wing beats along the length of the cage.

E.4 If the species in the cage is capable of flight then, for a single bird , the cage width should be no less than 1.5 times the wingspan of an adult of that species. For each additional bird the width should be increased by at least half the wingspan of an adult of that species.

E.5 Incompatible individuals must be assigned separate, appropriately dimensioned facilities.

E.6 The cage must have access to sunlight and shade from direct sunlight during daylight hours. Drinking water and shelter from climatic extremes must be provided at all times to satisfy the needs of all the birds within the cage.

E.7 If impervious flooring is to be used, then a cage substrate must be used which is plentiful and absorbent. The substrate must be changed as required to maintain appropriate levels of cleanliness and animal health.

E.8 Display cages holding birds must be placed well away from any animals that may cause them to injure themselves through cage panic.

E.9 The exhibition cages must be set above ground to provide the birds with protection from predators.



7.1. Since most caged animals tend to defecate in one given area of the cage, the food presentation and sleeping areas must be set as far away as possible from these areas to prevent fecal contamination of food and bedding. Where animals are seen not to practice this sort of "cage discipline", containers and bedding areas must be raised above cage floor level. Water and food containers should never be placed under perches in the case of birds.

7.2. Species Groups

7.2.A.Big Cats

A.1 The night quarters for big cats must meet the minimum display housing requirements. Big cats must have access to dry overnight shelter which provides protection from climatic extremes.

A.2 The bedding material in an animal enclosure must be maintained in a dry and clean condition at all times.

7.2.B. Dogs

B.1 Dogs must have access to dry shelter overnight which provides protection from climatic extremes.

B.2 Suitable bedding material must be provided for insulation. An area free of bedding must also be available for each dog at night.

.7.2.C Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1 Equine, ungulates and camelids must have access to overnight shelter, other than the transporter, which will protect the animals from climatic extremes.

7.2.D. Elephants

D.1 Elephants must have access to overnight shelter which will protect the elephants from climatic extremes. Transporters are not to be used as night quarters but the animals may have access to them on a free-choice basis.


E.1 Within their exhibition cages, birds must have high perches and/or night boxes to provide shelter for them when they roost for the night. These should be set well away from the sides of the cages to prevent cage panic.


8.1. Animals shall receive at least forty-five (45) minutes exercise per day in the form of training sessions and/or public performance.

8.2. The training methods used must not be capable of causing distress, pain or injury to any animal involved, in the long or short term. For this reason the use of fire in animal acts is prohibited.

8.3. When the animals are being trained care must be exercised in ensuring that the skeletomusculature of the animals is developing or has developed sufficiently to meet the demands placed on it by the training.

8.4. All training must be discontinued if a worsening musculoskeletal condition manifests itself, until this condition and its cause are properly diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian experienced with the species of animal involved.

8.5. Special care must be exercised with young growing animals and old animals with training regimes being modified accordingly.

8.6. An animal which is clinically ill must not be trained until a veterinarian experienced with the species of animal involved states that the animal has fully recovered or is capable of training or performing.

8.7. All training methods should be based on a positive reinforcement approach (ie. the anticipation of a reward for successfully completing a desired behaviour).

8.8. The reward for the successful completion of a desired behaviour must be immediate and tangible for the animal.

8.9. Physical punishment is not permissible on any animal.

8.10. Any stools, ladders, planks or steps used as props must either be fixed to the ring sides or have a wide enough base to be sufficiently stable. If there are any wood elements within these items, this wood must not be splintery or split. Any props must be well designed and as simple as possible.

*When deciding on the colour of a prop that the animal must be able to see in order to utilize it properly, it should be remembered that most animals are colour blind and therefore the colour of the prop should contrast clearly with that of its background. As animals eyes are sensitive to shape and motion the shape of the prop should also contrast with that of its background in order to enhance its visibility to the animal. Swirling designs on the prop that break up its outline should not be used as they make the prop harder for an animal to see. The same should apply to the inside of the circus ring.



9.1. No training or command implement must be used in such a manner that pain, injury or distress will be inflicted on the animal.

9.2. The elephant ankus must have a probe (blunt) point on the hook, and must never be applied in a painful manner. Gentle pressure to the ears, or to the elbows with the hook is acceptable. All other guiding pressures should be applied with the butt or the side of the stick.

9.3. Collars, head collars or leads should not be jerked or pulled forcefully in order to guide an animal.

9.4. Rattans (canes) and other types of rods may be used to push or guide an animal, and they may be struck against each other or against apparatus to provide a noise stimulus, but they must not be used to strike an animal. The ends of these devices must always be blunt.

9.5. The use of sharp spurs, or spurs with fixed rowels, is not permitted under any circumstances for the training of animals.

9.6. All implements must be non-toxic to animals by virtue of their composition and construction.

9.7. Animals must not be struck with any training device unless the safety of humans or animals is under direct threat.


10.1. Trained behaviours must incorporate bodily movements that are within the normal physical capability of the animal. Animals must not perform movements that carry a high risk of injury.

10.2. The apparatus that animals may make use of in the course of their trained behaviours must be easy for them to use and have no foreseeable potential to cause them injury.

10.3. Animals unwilling, for whatever reason, to perform a desired behaviour, must not be forced to continue.

* If any animal is unwilling to perform a desired behaviour, it will:

I) Initially refuse, or baulk at performing the behaviour;

ii) Attempt to please the trainer by performing an alternative behaviour;

iii) Perform a displacement activity (such as a grooming manoeuvre)

iv) Attempt to escape the proximity of the trainer.

10.4. It is considered essential that animals be constantly provided with minor changes in their behavioural repertoire.

* This will provide a constant level of mental stimulation for the animals. The level of variation instigated will always remain the prerogative of the trainer. This variation is intended for the benefit of the animals. If it becomes apparent that variation is causing distress in the animals, then variation should either be decreased or ceased altogether.

10.5. Trainers must halt a training session if decreased attention span and an increasing level of unwillingness to perform a behaviour by the animal becomes apparent.

* This should be taken as a signal that the animal has "had enough". The exposure level that animals are able to cope with is very much dependent on the individual animal. It is important that the trainers develop sufficient rapport with their charges to detect signs that the training session should be terminated for the moment.

10.6. Species Groups

10.6.A. Big Cats

Big cats may be trained to perform the following basic behaviours on command:

Stationing (each animal to its own perch), Assemblage (animals arranged together in various groups and postures), Rearing, Leaping (over obstacles, through hoops (but not hoops of fire, onto narrow perches, etc.), Vocalizing, Rolling, Close contact with handler (trainer lying against or sitting on animal, "shaking hands", manual opening of jaws, etc.), Balancing Acts (running along narrow plank, etc).

10.6.B. Dogs

Dogs may be trained to perform the following basic behaviours on command:

Stationing, Assemblage, Bipedal walking and Dancing, Vocalizing, Leaping on or over or various objects, Rolling, Retrieving objects.

10.6.C.Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

Equine, ungulates and camelids may be trained to perform the following basic behaviours on command:

Assemblage, Stationing, Gait Changes on Command, "Dancing", Rearing, Bipedal Walking (not ungulates or camelids), Foot Tapping, Vocalizing, Prehension of Objects (eg. retrieving a scarf), Wheeling, Synchronized Movement.

10.6.D. Elephants

Elephants may be trained to perform the following basic behaviours on command:

Stationing, Assemblage, Rearing, Vocalizing, Prehension (with the trunk), Wheeling, Balancing Acts (restricted to cylinders not balls), Weight Lifting, Dancing.

* Elephants need to be accustomed to taking orders from humans so that everyday handling is not a trauma, either for the animals or the handler. Because they are social animals, they also appear to benefit psychologically from the stimuli provided by their trainers and from the training and performance of desired behaviours.

10.6.E. Birds

Birds may be trained to perform the following basic behaviours on command:

  • Assemblage
  • Vocalizing
  • Dancing
  • Balancing Acts (may involve the use of apparatus)
  • Object Prehension and Retrieval.



11.1. For performance purposes it is acceptable to ceremonially dress animals as traditionally practised historically and culturally.

11.2. No costume shall be used that belittles the animal.


12.1. Regular inspection and evaluations of animal housing by circus staff must take place when feeding and cleaning, to monitor hygiene levels and potential problems.

12.2. Recognizing signs of distress and stress and ascertaining the causes of such is vital. The causes must then be removed or alleviated as much as is possible. Veterinary advice should be obtained where the causation can not be identified.

* Signs of psychological distress and stress include:

  • I) Self mutilation of no dermatological cause,
  • ii) Excessive self grooming,
  • iii) Repetitive stereotypical behaviour,
  • iv) Changes in eating, defecating and urination habits,
  • v) Abnormal aggression or withdrawal either toward keepers or toward its cage mates.

12.3. Animal excrement must be removed from the animal's environment as soon as possible. The methods used for removal must not be a source of stress to the animal concerned.

12.4. All tools, utensils and working surfaces associated with the preparation of food for animal consumption must be kept clean and in good repair.

12.5. All food offered to animals must be clean, fresh, appropriate and wholesome.


13.1. Each circus must establish a regular arrangement with a veterinarian who has a specialized knowledge of circus animals. These veterinarians must check all circus animals on a six-month basis regardless of their state of health. Where the regular veterinarian is unavailable, sick or injured animals should be examined by a local veterinarian who should be provided with the regular veterinarian's contact address and phone number.

13.2. Copies of all medical records pertaining to each circus animal must be maintained by the circus and travel with the animal in a central accessible location.

* Copies of medical records must travel with the animals to ensure any consulting veterinarian can immediately view the medical record of a particular animal.

13.3. Circuses must maintain an up-to-date list and locality guide of suitably qualified veterinarians and make themselves familiar with the name and location of the nearest veterinarian upon arriving at a given venue.

13.4. If any treatment commenced involves the use of a prescription scheduled drug, the advice and attendance of a veterinarian, licensed to practice in the province of Nova Scotia, must be sought. Should a suitably qualified veterinarian not be available, the advice of one must be gained verbally over the phone and confirmed by fax or letter for the animal's medical record.

13.5. If a disease condition is diagnosed by a veterinarian that requires the animal to be hospitalized, either the animal should be removed for treatment or if the space is available hospital facilities can be set up within the circus. These would comprise of a separated area within the existing facilities where the animal can be contained, isolated, monitored and nursed if necessary.

13.6. If a diagnosed disease involves an infectious agent that renders it communicable to other animals, or to humans, a hospital area within the circus must be quarantined. Only selected staff shall have access to the area and disinfection measures should be devised under the guidance of the attending veterinarian to prevent the spread of the disease.

13.7. Surgery of any sort must only be performed by a registered veterinarian. Under no circumstances is the de-clawing and de-toothing of a big cat an acceptable surgical procedure unless the de-toothing is necessary to improve the animal's health.

13.8. Veterinary opinion must be sought before moving animals in late stages of pregnancy.



14.1. Those drugs under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act administered to animals in a circus must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Administration of drugs may be performed by circus staff with previous experience in the procedures, but only at the direction of a veterinarian. Circus staff should be aware of the limitations that the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Act places on what procedures may be performed by lay people.

14.2. In the use of non-prescription drugs labeled directions must be followed.

14.3. Sterile disposable needles and syringes must be used for all injections. Darts may be used if necessary. Adequate restraint equipment and facilities are to be part of routine circus inventory.


15.1. The circus must maintain a protocol to which pertinent staff have been familiarized as to animal euthanasia.

15.2. The decision to perform euthanasia is ultimately the responsibility of the circus proprietor or his/her delegate. Euthanasia must be performed by a veterinarian, except in an emergency when a veterinarian is not available. In emergencies the advice of a veterinarian should be obtained verbally.

15.3. The only methods of non-veterinary euthanasia that is permissible is gunshot to the brain for all animals and cervical dislocation for birds only. The individual performing the euthanasia must meet the relevant legislative requirements in NS regarding the use of firearms. The person should have knowledge or prior experience in the methods of successful euthanasia that particular species of animal. The animal to be euthanized must be properly restrained to avoid the likelihood of the shooter missing and not killing the animal with the first shot. Suitable caliber firearms and ammunition must be available for all circus animals held.


  1. Provisions must be in place for privacy from the public for all injured or otherwise compromised animals.
  2. Experienced handlers should be within eye contact of all individual animals under their care when in the presence of the general public.
  3. Feeding of performing animals by the general public is prohibited.
  4. No animal can be directly approached by the general public unless under the direct supervision of an experienced animal handler/trainer and the safety of the public can be assured.

16.1. Species Groups

16.1A. Big Cats

A.1 Only circus workers with whom the big cats are familiar are permitted to have unsupervised and unrestricted close access to the cat facilities.

A.2 Members of the public must be restrained behind a safety barrier which is at least two (2 m) or (6.5 ft) from the cats cage. Access beyond the safety barrier by members of the public is not allowed.

A.3 Big cats while on display must always have access to an area away from public view.

A.4 It should always be remembered that these animals are potentially dangerous to members of the public, and pictorial signs must be used on safety barriers to alert the public to this fact.

16.1.B. Dogs

B.1 Staff supervision must ensure that no circus dog is teased or otherwise abused by members of the public.

B.3 Dogs must not be confined in such a manner that it is impossible for them to retreat from members of the public. They must always be provided with an area where they can remove themselves from public attention while still receiving socialization from other dogs.

16.1.C. Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1 Equine, ungulates and camelids must be confined so that they can avoid the attentions of members of the public if they wish to do so.

16.1.D. Elephants

D.1 It should always be remembered that elephants are potentially dangerous to members of the public, and pictorial signs must be used on safety barriers to alert the public to this fact. The general public must never have access to the elephants.

D.2 Elephants must be confined so that they can avoid the attentions of members of the public if they wish to do so.

16.1.E. Birds

E.1 Display cages for birds must include some form of solid partition or small box to which they can remove themselves from public view if they wish.



Species Groups

17.1.A. Big Cats

A.1. Lions

* Lions are social animals with a well defined hierarchy within their colonies (prides), therefore direct interaction between colony members is considered essential. Due to this fact it is vital that lions normally be housed together and that they have frequent contact with personnel ordinarily engaged to manage them.

* Lions requiring temporary separation from the rest of the group must be provided with the display space requirements for an individual animal as outlined in 6.4.A.2. This requirement does not apply when the animal is separated from the rest of the group for the purposes of veterinary treatment when the veterinarian will advise regarding the confinement space necessary.

* It is vital that any wagon used to transport lions can be subdivided into separate compartments for each lion if this becomes necessary.

* It may be necessary to separate lions if hierarchy is enforced to the detriment of one or some individuals. This occurs most commonly during feeding time, but will also occur if a lioness is in oestrus or if a frustrated male displays sexual aggression to a lesser male. Fights regarding dominance are often unavoidable, but separation may sometimes be counterproductive in that it prevents the issue at hand from being properly sorted out, and sometimes can prolong the aggression and resentment.


* It is acceptable to house tigers together provided that there is no antagonism between cage mates.

* It is vital that any wagon used to hold tigers can be subdivided into separate compartments for each tiger if this becomes necessary.

* Tigers are social cats, but less so than lions. A hierarchy will always form and this should be observed, evaluated and taken into account when handling or housing these animals. Tigers must be fed separately as, in the wild, they are accustomed to feeding solitarily on their kills.


Facilities to hold leopards must have provision to transport, display and feed all leopards separately.

* Of all the big cats, this group tends to behave in a manner most similar to that of the domestic cat. Animals in this group tend to be solitary creatures, although some individuals will tolerate the sharing of their cage with another if they are 'old friends', however this is the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, there must be provision to transport, display and feed all leopards separately.

17.1.B. Dogs

B.1. Dogs have a strong hierarchical tendency that tends to make colony situations self-regulating. Protective measures to intervene should only be taken if one individual is being constantly attacked or if an attack is likely to lead to serious injury or death for the loser. A retreat area must always be provided for individuals from the group.

17.1.C.Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1. As equine, ungulates and camelids are social herd animals, they must always have visual access to others of their species.

* Most ungulates will only assert dominance over other members of their colony if there is something that can not be shared equally between all members. This may be feed, a female in oestrus or a choice spot in the enclosure. Therefore feed should be made equally available as should 'good' areas of the enclosure. During the mating season, rival males may have to be separated and males and females may have to be separated if breeding is not desired.

17.1.D. Elephants

D.1. As elephants are social herd animals, they must always be able to see and touch other elephants.

17.1.E. Birds

E.1. Compatible birds may be housed together as long as the display cage is large enough to prevent harassment by cage mates. The personal space required by each bird is entirely dependent on the species and temperament of the individual.



18.1. (a) A secondary handler/trainer must be on-site in the event of injury or absence of the primary handler/trainer.

(b) If a trained act is to change hands, a transfer period must be undertaken in the presence of the old handler/trainer until such time as the new handler/trainer can satisfactorily work the act and gain the confidence of the animals.

18.2. Trainer/Handler Requirements:

A commitment to the welfare of the animals under that person's care;

(a) This is the most important relationship between animal and human in the circus environment, as it often involves vital physical and social interaction for the animals. Trainers should aim to relate to their charges on an individual basis. In this way, trainers will be able to detect problems (physical, medical or psychological) and hidden talents in their animals before anybody else can.

(b) Handlers are encouraged to develop educational information on the animals to promote better understanding and respect for the animals.

2. A thorough familiarity with the behavioral tendencies of the species for which they are engaged to be responsible;

3. A thorough familiarity with the potential physical capabilities of the species for which they are engaged to be responsible;

4. A thorough familiarity with the accepted methods of handling, physical restraint and training of the species for which they are engaged to be responsible;

5. A basic sense of hygiene, cleanliness and neatness in regard to facilities, equipment and feed;

6. Basic skills in visually assessing animal demeanor, physical condition, fecal output, feed intake, etc.;

7. The ability to maintain coherent, comprehensive and relevant records in relation to the animals under their care;

8. The ability to liaise with the circus management;

9. The ability to delegate responsibility appropriately where circumstances warrant this;

10. The ability to recognize and carry out safe work practices;

11. The ability to liaise with the visiting public;

* Because members of the public ultimately determine the viability of a circus, questions from the public must always be treated with respect, even if the person asking the questions is basically antagonistic to the idea of animals in circuses. The circus must demonstrate its willingness to talk to any member of the public about any aspect of the presence of animals in circuses.

12. Ability and willingness to consult and communicate with veterinary consultants.

18.3. Staff to be involved in the care and handling of animals in circuses must have access to the following avenues for obtaining the necessary skills to be considered competent regarding animal matters:

Undertake one of a number of formal courses dealing specifically with specialized animal care (i.e. animal husbandry, zoo keeping, animal ethics). Many animal care courses can now be undertaken by correspondence.

Obtain regular access to relevant new literature in order to keep abreast of recent developments in animal care, husbandry and training.

18.4. Interested members of the public shall be encouraged to watch training sessions and to ask questions. All animal handlers must be prepared to answer reasonable public queries at reasonable times regarding the animals in their care.

* It should always be remembered that the public may not be aware of things that the circus staff take for granted. If an animal displays fear or anxiety while in the ring, the reasons for that fear should be explained to the audience. If a movement that the animal is performing looks awkward, the presenter should whenever possible point out the animal will not be hurt.

18.5. Staff involved in the care of animals in circuses must first undergo work experience on an apprenticeship basis with a person who is recognized as having experience in animal care with the relevant species.

18.6. Staff involved in the care of circus animals should have regular opportunities to visit other circuses, conferences or personnel, in order to keep abreast of recent developments in the animal keeping field.

18.7. Each animal act must have two handler/trainers capable of working the act or exercising the animals, so that absence from the circus by one handler/trainer does not result in stress on the animals through separation from their familiar trainer/handler coupled with lack of training/performance/exercise.



Daily exercise periods must be provided to counteract boredom, laziness and to promote the well-being of the animals and the duration must reflect the needs of individual species.

Enrichment should be based on the provision of species-appropriate fixed and movable features and furnishings within the animal's environment and procedures to increase both physical and mental activity.

19.1. Species Groups

19.1.A. Big Cats

A.1. Big cats must have access to wood in their display cages to serve as scratching and marking posts. Round untreated pine uprights are a suitable material.

A.2. Most big cats utilize trees in their natural habitat therefore high perches and places to climb must be provided in display cages holding them. Perches should be constructed of round section wood and provide at least one fork for an animal to rest in and placed in such manner to ensure containment. Folding raised shelving must be in place within the transporter to provide elevated areas for all big cats.

19.1.B. Dogs

B.1. Because of their long standing association with humans, dogs derive a large amount of stimulation from interacting with people. Training also gives dogs the stimulation of learning new performance behaviors.>

B.2. As dogs are pack animals, they derive stimulation in interacting with other dogs, therefore they must be housed together wherever possible.

19.1.C. Equine, Ungulates and Camelids

C.1. As equine, ungulates and camelids are herd animals, they derive stimulation in interacting with other members of their own species, therefore they must be housed with their own wherever possible. Where two individuals sharing the same enclosure results in constant fighting or bullying, these individuals must be physically but not visually separated.

19.1.D. Elephants

D.1. As elephants are herd animals, they derive stimulation in interacting with other members of their own species, therefore they must be housed with their own species wherever possible. Where two individuals sharing the same enclosure results in constant fighting or bullying, these individuals must be physically but not visually separated.

D.2. Because elephants are intelligent, inquisitive and social creatures, they must be supplied with mental stimulation, avenues of play and social contact with humans and other elephants. In between shows elephants must be given a daily variation of durable objects to play with, provided these objects are not capable of causing the elephants injury.

19.1.E. Birds

E.1. Parrots must be provided with natural perches and fresh leaved branches to chew on a regular basis. Every effort must be made to encourage foraging behavior by hiding food in different areas of the enclosure. Parrots may also benefit from the presence of play elements within their cages such as swings and bells.

E.2. Domestic waterfowl must be provided with water, of adequate size and depth to swim in, when housed in display enclosures.

E.3. Domestic geese should be given access to a grassed area for at least four (4) hours every day.


20.1. Species Groups

20.1.A. Big Cats

A.1. Big cats may only be tethered during training sessions while in the presence of the trainer.

20.1.B. Dogs

B.1. Dogs may be tethered via a running lead. The minimum length of the running lead must be 4 meters. Such lead must have swivels to prevent tangling.

B.2. Non chafing collars may be worn by dogs at all times. They must be regularly checked to ensure that they have not become too tight or too loose. Non chafing shoulder harnesses may be worn by dogs during performances and training sessions.

20.1.C. Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1. Tethering of equine, ungulates and camelids is only allowable at night, during storms and to temporarily separate an aggressive animal.

C.2. During performances the use of halters, bridles with bits, saddles, trap and carriage harnesses may be used on horses and ponies as long as they have no components which may injure the animals. The equipment must be applied so that no galls, rubs, bruises or cuts result. Nose rings may be used to control cattle while they are performing, as may nose pegs in camels.

C.3. When equine, ungulates or camelids are not performing or are tethered, no harnesses of any sort except a light headstall shall be worn by the animals. The headstall must not rub around the animals ears or cheeks.

C.4. Camels must not be tethered via their nose pegs. If tethered for transportation, camels must be restrained with a long tether tied from their headstall to floor level so that the camel can sit completely down.

C.5. Cattle must not be tethered via their nose rings.

C.6 Tethers for equine, ungulates and camelids must be constructed of rope or other material which is strong enough to contain the animal, but does not weigh the animals head down. Metal chain may only be used on a tether when an animal is to be staked outdoors, and under these circumstances the chain must form the extreme lower section of the tether that nearest the ground), and must not exceed 30cm in length.

20.1.D. Elephants

D.1. Tethering of elephants is only acceptable at night, during storms, or while their trainer/handler is temporarily absent from the circus. Under any circumstances elephants must only be tethered via a padded metal leg band around one leg and such tether must have a minimum of one swivel to prevent tangling. The minimum tether length to be used for elephants is 4 m (12 ft).

D.2. Harnessing of elephants during performances is allowed if the elephant is going to pull or carry something. A harness must be applied so that no rubs, cuts, galls or bruises result. Metal components of these harnesses must not come into direct contact with the animal's skin, especially under pressure. Decorative head pieces may be worn but these must be removed when the elephant is not performing.

20.1.E. Birds

E.1. Birds may not be tethered.



21.1. Species Groups

21.1.A. Big Cats

A.1. In order to maintain tooth and gum health, tough raw meat including raw bones in sizes that necessitates chewing shall be provided on a weekly basis.

A.2. Access to wood for scratching will maintain the health of the cats claws and their sheaths.

21.1.B. Dogs

B.1. Dogs must be maintained in good condition.

21.1.C. Equine, Ungulates & Camelids

C.1. Equine, ungulates and camelids must have their coats groomed sufficiently often to maintain the desired level of cleanliness.

C.2. Ungulate hooves must be trimmed regularly so that they don't split, separate from the sole or start to curl upwards.

C.3. Teeth must be inspected once every three months to ensure that no sharp points are developing. Any sharp points should be rasped back.


D. 1. Elephants feet must be inspected regularly, and the toenail length should be kept sufficiently short that the toenails do not splay or start to curl outwards. Regular nail trimming and rasping may be necessary. The feet must be inspected at least once a week to ensure that the soles and nails are in good order.

D.2. Where access to grooming materials (water, loose dirt, large trees to rub against) are not available to elephants to enable self-grooming to occur, they must have their skin bathed and scrubbed once a day to remove loose skin flakes except where the ambient temperature falls below fifteen (15) degrees Celsius (600 F), in which case elephants shall be brush cleaned.

21.1.E. Birds

E.1. Birds will groom themselves. Access to cuttlebone and similar substances will aid beak and claw maintenance. Access to baths is compulsory.

E.2. The correct perches (natural branches of varying diameter), and floor substrate (natural material), will help to maintain the birds claws.


22.1. Records must be maintained for each individual animal. These records must show:

  • i) Species (common and scientific name)
  • ii) Gender of animal
  • iii) Given name of animal-see ii
  • iv) Date of birth;
  • v) Current ownership
  • vi) Insurer and contact name, including phone number
  • vii) Agent
  • viii) Name, address and phone number of regular veterinarian
  • ix) Name of breeder, place of birth, sire and dam (if known)
  • x) Date of acquisition by circus
  • xi) Previous ownerships - names and dates
  • xii) Breeding history - mating dates, mating partners, number and gender of any offspring, and the fate of those offspring
  • xiii) Medical history (including diagnoses of diseases, medical- treatments, surgical, weights, procedures, vaccinations). Dates are essential
  • xiv) Any scarring or distinguishing marks
  • xv) Any noteworthy incidents involving this animal
  • xvi) Any comments or precautions (e.g. side effects of certain drugs)
  • xvii) Permanent identification - e.g. permanently locked wing band or ear tag, microchip, tattoo number or appropriate photograph
  • xviii) Dietary preferences and current diet
  • xix) Routine husbandry procedures (nail trimming, hoof trimming, worming, etc)

22.2. 1 A complete inventory of all prescription drugs maintained on hand




BERGERON, Sandra   HONEYMAN, Virginia
Zoo de St-Felicien, Quebec   Calgary Zoo, Alberta
Tel:(418) 679-0543 Fax:(418) 679-3547   Tel:(403) 232-9391 Fax:(403) 237-7582
BLACK, Sandie     COOPER, Bob  
Calgary Zoo, Alberta   Calgary Zoo, Alberta
Tel: (403) 232-9309 Fax: (403) 237-8318   Tel: (403) 232-9390 Fax: (403) 232-7582
MEHREN, Kay     GLOVER, Gord  
Metro Toronto Zoo, Ontario   Assiniboine Park Zoo, Manitoba
Tel: (416) 392-5976 Fax: (416) 392-4979   Tel: (204) 986-4029 Fax: (204) 832-5420
PATENAUDE, Robert     CRAWSHAW, Graham  
Jardin Zoologique de Quebec, Quebec   Metro Toronto Zoo, Ontario
Tel: (418) 622-0313 Fax: (418) 644-9004   Tel: (416) 392-5977 Fax: (416) 392-5934
LANTHIER, Clement     DANCOSSE, Jacques  
Jardin Zoologique de Granby, Quebec   Biodome De Montreal Quebec
Tel: (514) 372-9113 Fax: (514) 372-5531   Tel: (514) 868-3000 Fax: (514) 868-3065
HEBERT, Michel     HUFF, David  
Parc Safari Africain, Quebec   Vancouver Aquarium, British Columbia
Tel: (514) 346-6055 Fax: (514) 247-3563   Tel: (604) 631-2536 Fax: (604) 631-2529
KORBER, Kerry     KORVER, Wendy  
Calgary Caged Pet Clinic, Alberta   Korver Exotic Animal Vet Services, Ontario
Tel: (403) 240-3577 Fax: (403) 249-8160   Tel: (905) 623-9012 Fax: (905) 623-1309

CARNEGY, Eric        
Carnegy Veterinary Clinic, Nova Scotia      
Tel: (902) 457-1575        


Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia
Tel: (902) 758-3180




NS Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:
OFFICE: TEL: (902) 835-4798
FAX: (902) 835-7885
Toll Free Cruelty Line: 1-888-703-7722

TEL: (902) 865-7011 (H)
CELL: (902) 497-9533

TEL: (902) 864-5133 (H)
CELL: (902) 483-0166

Nova Scotia Department of Labour & Workforce Development

Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources