After tragic shooting of escaped tiger, should France ban circus animals?

After tragic shooting of escaped tiger, should France ban circus animals?

Within just a few days last month, both Italy and Ireland banned the use of performing animals in circuses on a national level, joining 11 other members of the European Union that have already done so. France, unfortunately, is not one of those countries.

A couple of weeks later, an 18-month-old tiger named Mevy escaped as her cage was being cleaned at the Cirque Bormann Moreno in Paris.

In addition to eight tigers, the circus features performing animals like horses, camels, llamas and a zebra.

After tragic shooting of escaped tiger, should France ban circus animals?
Photo Credit: Tim Evanson/Flickr

Mevy wandered over to a public road as her owner and head of the circus, Eric Bormann, followed her.

Despite his best attempts, Bormann failed to coax the tiger back, according to a statement from the circus. Tranquilizer darts were “considered too risky … We needed above all to ensure the safety of the public.” So Bormann shot Mevy three times, killing the tiger who’d been born, raised and bottle-fed in his circus.

Could this tragedy be the impetus for France to join Italy, Ireland and other countries in banning circus animals? Animal welfare advocates are urging Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot to quickly act on this issue.

“What happened on Friday could have resulted in far more serious consequences,” Brigitte Bardot Foundation spokesman Christophe Marie told The Local. “We are already seeing a change in society — people are starting to question the relationship between humans and animals. France must respond in the same way as other countries and ban animals from circuses altogether.”

Circus animals like Mevy spend their lives in what Marie describes as “extreme conditions of captivity” — confined to cramped cages instead of roaming free in the wild. “These animals, which naturally need a lot of space, develop diseases such as stereotypy, which results in repetitive behaviors: tigers that circle in their cage for example, or elephants that swing from one leg to another,” he said.

Not only do circus animals have dismal lives, but their misery puts humans at risk. Case in point: The day after Mevy was killed, a tiger in a Chinese circus escaped from his cage during a performance. The tiger scratched two children in the audience before being returned to his cage. Local media reported that the tiger “may have been annoyed at the show.”

Witnesses said the tiger “appeared to turn defensive and then aggressive as it was being abused by its handler, and it managed to escape the enclosure entirely when it rammed one of the sides and broke it apart.”

A few months ago, France’s Hulot said he wanted to create a think tank on animal welfare. The group’s first initiative should be prohibiting the use of performing animals in circuses.


Please sign and share this Care2 petition urging French President Emmanuel Macron and Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot to ban the use of animals in circuses throughout France.

This article was first published by on 04 Dec 2017.

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