France under pressure to ban circus animals after killing of tiger in Paris

A sad incident which saw an escaped tiger shot dead by its owner in Paris has reignited the row over whether circuses in France should be allowed to use wild animals.

France under pressure to ban circus animals after killing of tiger in Paris
Photo: Brigitte Bardot Foundation
The 18-month-old female tiger, named Mevy, was shot dead by its owner in Paris' 15th arrondissement after it escaped from the Cirque Bormann-Moreno.
As shocking images of the dead animal bleeding heavily from its gunshot wounds started circulating on social media, people were quick to condemn the act as well as the continued presence of wild animals in circuses in France.
Circus boss and owner of the tiger Eric Bormann says he has even received death threats over the incident. 
But animal rights groups including the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, One Voice and even France's League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) were among those seizing the moment to call for a ban on the presence of animals in circuses in France. 
“What happened on Friday could have resulted in far more serious consequences,” Christophe Marie, spokesperson for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation told The Local. 
“These animals aren't getting what they need. They're depressed because they are trapped in tight spaces and forced to do the same movements every day.”
“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.”
In response to the incident, the foundation appealed to Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot, to “ban the exploitation of animals in circuses which has already happened in 13 other member states of the European Union.” 
On Saturday morning French journalist and former partner of Brigitte Bardot, Allain Bougrain-Dubourg appealed to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to “stop wild animals appearing in circuses” in the French capital. 
“Do we have to wait for another tragedy?” he said. 
And Mayor of of the French capital's 15th arrondissement Philippe Goujon publicly questioned the safety of circuses, saying that the Cirque Bormann-Moreno, where the animal came from, “can not be allowed” to go ahead under the circumstances. 
The tiger's owner Bormann claimed on Saturday that he had “respected the safety protocol” and that the animal's cage had been cut open in a “malicious act”.
He complained of the death threats being made against him.
“I've received death threats, it's odious, it's very serious, they say they're going to burn our circus, they'll come back at night to to kill us, that they will release the other animals,” he said.
Bormann said he killed the beast to stop it causing damage or injuring a member of the public, adding that he and his partner said that killing the animal which they had raised from a baby caused them “immense pain”. 

In an interview with BFM TV he said he was grieved by the loss of his animal: “We lost a member of the family, I raised him at home”.
He added that the idea of using a tranquillizer gun was quickly ruled out because of the time it takes for the sedatives to work.
Brigitte Bardot Foundation spokesperson Marie said this wasn't about judging the owner. 
“I'm sure the relationship between the owner and the tiger is a complicated one,” said Marie. 

“I'm positive that killing the animal was a difficult thing for him but this is about changing people's attitudes towards animals in captivity. We need to make sure wild animals are raised in the right environment,” he said. 



Halal meat sold in France can’t be called organic, EU rules

Halal meat from animals slaughtered by religious ritual without having first been stunned cannot be labelled organic, on animal welfare grounds, a top European Union court ruled Tuesday.

Halal meat sold in France can’t be called organic, EU rules
Photo: AFP

The way the meat is slaughtered “fails to observe the highest animal welfare standards”, said the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The case came to the court after the OABA, a French association promoting animal welfare in abattoirs, urged the agriculture ministry to ban the labelling of such meat as organic.

French courts initially dismissed the OABA's case before passing it up to the CJEU for a definitive ruling.

“The Court recalls that scientific studies have shown that pre-stunning is the technique that compromises animal welfare the least at the time of killing,” said an CJEU statement Tuesday.

Producers have to meet the highest animal welfare standards to qualify for the EU's organic label, the court noted.

So while the ritual slaughter of animals was allowed on grounds of religious freedom, if they were not first stunned then that did not meet the highest animal welfare standards.

The meat from such animals could not then qualify as organic.

The case will now go back to the Court of Appeal in Versailles, France, for a definitive ruling. 

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