police power of the mayor

[Fiches pratiques de la police territoriale] Law-Regulations-Jurisprudence

Current legal framework

General Code of Local Authorities (CGCT), article L.2212-2 (law no. 2014-1545 of December 20, 2014) – extract

“The purpose of the municipal police is to ensure order, safety, security and public health. This includes in particular: […] 3° The maintenance of good order in places where there are large gatherings of men, such as fairs, markets, public celebrations and ceremonies, shows, games, cafes, churches and other public places; […] 7° The care to prevent or cure the unfortunate events that may be caused by the wandering of malicious or wild animals. »

Put into perspective

Circus and traveling shows fascinate many spectators, especially because of the possibility of seeing exotic and wild animals transform.
Article L.2212-2 of the CGCT establishes the general police powers of the mayor in his municipality, especially in the maintenance of good order during public demonstrations and the prevention for the safety of the wandering of dangerous or wild animal

Circular of April 7, 2017 related to mediation regarding circus facilities with animals and fairgrounds (NOR INTA1710483J)

“My attention is regularly drawn by the circus and fairground professions, and by the organizations that represent them, to the difficulties they often experience in the practice of their profession, due in particular to the prohibition of certain municipalities in their location or their distance from the center of towns.
Once the safety rules related to these events are followed and mainly concern those related to establishments open to the public, the safety of riders, machines and installations for the fairgrounds, the keeping animals in circuses or again in all measures of public order. – these traders, workers or entrepreneurs must be able to carry out their professions that constitute the sectors of activity whose economic and social impact cannot be neglected.
In the event of difficulties or proceedings, particularly arising on the occasion of these installations, it is up to you, as well as the sub-prefects of the district under your authority, to be attentive to the requests of the representatives of the professional organization. and, without doubting the powers of the municipal authority, to promote prior dialogue and consultation between professionals and the municipalities concerned.
Thank you for informing me of the difficulties you may encounter in the implementation of these instructions as well as the prefect in charge of the interterministerial mission in the fairground and circus professions who will be able, in respect of your skills, to alert you of any difficulties that he knows. »

Ministerial response to the conditions for carrying out the activity

  • Response from the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations to local authorities published in the JO Senate on August 13, 2020, p. 3596

“There is no legislative or regulatory provision prohibiting the keeping of animals in captivity within establishments exhibited to the traveling public, such as circuses.
This detention is however strictly regulated, especially by the decree of the Minister in charge of ecology on March 18, 2011 which sets the conditions for the detention and use of live animals of non-domestic species in itinerant entertainment establishments.
This text imposes requirements in terms of comfort and living space for the various types of animals that participate in the activity of circus shows, and also defines precautions in terms of the safety of staff and the public visiting the establishments.
The person in charge of animal care must also hold a certificate of competence for the public presentation of non-domestic species exhibited in a show.
Finally, the establishment must have prefectural authorization to carry out this activity. »

Ministerial response to circumstances justifying a mayoral prohibition order

  • Response from the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations to local authorities published in the JO Senate on August 13, 2020, p. 3596

“In the event of a disturbance of public order, the mayor may prohibit the placement of a circus with animals in the territory of his municipality based on his general administrative police power which he derives from article L. 2212-2 of the general local authority code.
Its intervention must be justified by specific local circumstances and strictly proportional to the risk of harm to good order, security or public health.
As an illustration, administrative case law considers that a general and absolute ban exceeds the requirements of public order (Bordeaux Administrative Court, December 27, 2017, No. 1705398). The administrative judge also considers that such a decision cannot be based on the fact that circuses cannot offer these animals space and detention conditions adapted to their biological needs; or the fact that the display of these animals would undermine the values ​​of respect for nature and the environment protected by the Constitution, reasons that are not subject to the guarantee of public order for which the mayor is responsible (Toulon Administrative Court , February 27, 2020, No. 1802097). »

Ministerial response to the freedom to practice circus professions

  • Response from the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations to local authorities published in the JO Senate on August 13, 2020, p. 3596

“The circular of April 7, 2017 from the Ministry of the Interior related to the mediation regarding circus facilities with animals and fairgrounds (NOR: INTA1710483J) reminds that circus professions must perform the their professions as long as the rules of circus-related facilities with animals and there is no risk of disturbing public order. »

Law enforcement aimed at combating animal abuse and strengthening the relationship between animals and people

The question of condition has become a major concern in our society. Two-thirds of the French are in favor of improving animal conditions. Similarly, 84% of the French are in favor of the obligation to sterilize stray cats with financial participation from municipalities and 73% are in favor of public authorities supporting circus professionals to the shows with no wild animals.
Law No. 2021-1539 of November 30, 2021 aimed at combating animal abuse and strengthening the relationship between animals and humans (NOR: AGRX2035381L) provides for the end of captivity of wild species used for commercial goal in a progressive manner.
Since the publication of this law: immediate ban on the presentation of wild animals in discotheques (environmental code, art. L.413-13).

From December 1, 2023:

– prohibition of taking and breeding of wild animals in itinerant establishments (environmental code, article L.413-10); – ban on outbound travel of bears and wolves (environmental code, article L.413-14); – prohibition of the presentation of wild animals during television programs (environmental code, art. L.413-13).

From the 1st December 2026

Regarding the prevention of cetaceans: – ban on dolphin and killer whale shows; – ban on keeping cetaceans in captivity and their breeding, except within the framework of scientific research programs authorized by the Ministry of Ecological Transition or in refuges for captive wild animals.
(Environmental Code, art. L.413-12.)

From the 1st December 2028

Prohibition of keeping and exhibiting wild animals in itinerant establishments.

Definition of itinerant establishments

Establishments that exhibit wild animals during shows, in particular circuses or independent artists, constitute mobile establishments that exhibit wild animals to the public. They submitted:

  • in an introductory authorization for establishments in the first category. This category includes establishments that present a serious risk or inconvenience for wild species and the natural environment as well as for the safety of people (environment code, art. R.413-14);
  • obtaining for the person responsible for keeping the animals, a certificate of competence issued by the prefect. The latter verifies the diplomas or the conditions of professional experience that make it possible to assess the candidate’s ability to ensure the maintenance of animals as well as the layout and operation of the establishment that receives them (environmental code, art R.423-4 and R.413-5).

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