A tiger which escaped from a circus in Paris was shot dead by its owner on Friday, a news item that revolted animal advocates and reopened the debate over the presence of captive animals in live shows. Many countries have already banned this practice and about sixty municipalities in France.
A 200 kg tiger, who had escaped from a circus recently installed in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, caused a moment of panic in the southwestern part of the capital Friday, November 24 in the late afternoon, even forcing the RATP to suspend for a moment the traffic on a tram line. The animal, an 18-month-old female named Mevy, was finally shot in an alley near the France Television site by its owner, Eric Bormann, who had a shotgun, French law requiring owners of big cats to hold a gun.
According to the author of the two shots, the use of a hypodermic rifle – used to lull the felines – was too risky, given the context and the environment. It was then that he was preparing to clean the cage of the three tigers he owns that the owner of the circus Friday found that a door of the wire mesh of the cage was open, allowing the animal to escape. Placed in custody by the police after the slaughter of the beast, Eric Bormann did not exclude that the flaw in the security system that allowed the escape of the animal may be an act of malice, according to a statement released Saturday on the circus Facebook page.
The reluctance of the communes
Anyway, this unfortunate episode, which saddened the circus world as well as a large part of the population but also revolted the defenders of the animal cause, revived the debate on captive animals. “I took part in a gathering of Parisian veterinarians who sent a letter on November 2 to the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, asking him to refuse live animal shows in Paris,” said the veterinarian on Saturday. TV columnist Helene Gateau. This request was unsuccessful. ” In a letter, we received on November 15, regretted the veterinarian, Paris City Hall was content to remind us that everything that took place in Paris at present in circuses respected the law: cages standards and veterinary monitoring applied “.
“Know that over the past 22 years,” said Helene Gateau, ” no less than 300 accidents have occurred with wild circus animals in Europe: either an escape, the attack of the trainer, of the public or even the use of a weapon to kill an animal“. Many countries – 42 in total, including 19 in Europe – have already banned, partially or totally, the use of wild animals for live shows, the most recent being Ireland, which recently voted. on November 8, a law prohibiting this practice as early as 2018. Prohibitions at the municipal level are already taking place in France: there are currently more than sixty municipalities to refuse that shows with live animals take place on their perimeter, a figure that is growing.
At the national level, nothing has been decided yet, but the minister of ecological transition and solidarity, Nicolas Hulot, wants to organize in 2018 a group of reflection on the animal welfare, a wish emitted during an interview on France Inter during of which he had declared that he was ” not in favor of the idea of performing ” with the animals in captivity. This idea is well liked by animal defenders like Helene Gateau, but the columnist of France 3 still has reservations that we can understand: ” in this group of reflection, she says there will be philosophers but a priori it is not planned in the presence of veterinarians or ethologists. It is very harmful because who better than us to talk and think about animal welfare?“.
Towards an evolution
While the reproduction of orcas and dolphins is now banned in France, which ultimately means the end of water parks, advocates of the animal cause would like it to be the same with circus animals. This trend is likely to increase in the future. More and more circuses are now presenting animal-free shows, including institutions such as Cirque Bouglione, which settled there a little over a year ago. Still, the Collective Circus, a body that includes about 250 entities, does not intend to let it happen. Last September, they expressed their anger at the bans in some communes and denounced the attacks on their profession by “animal groups”.