Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
These images show four “very stressed” and “scarred” lionesses rescued from the same ‘circus from hell’ that poor Jon the lion was recently freed from.
Animal rights organisation One Voice told Newsflash that they had rescued the lionesses Hannah, Patty, Celeste and Marli from the same circus from which they had earlier rescued Jon, the emaciated lion, yesterday (Wednesday 8th June).
The operation ended around midnight last night.
The animal rights organisation said that the circus was intercepted in France near the Belgian border a few days after an inspection ordered by the French authorities.
One Voice are now the legal guardians of the four lionesses after the authorities determined that the animals were being mistreated.
They told Newsflash that it is the first time in France that animals have been seized from a circus at the request of an association for the sole reason that they were being mistreated.
They have been transferred to the Tonga Terre d’accueil animal refuge, who work closely with One Voice, ahead of being reunited with Jon.
The founding president of One Voice, Muriel Arnal, said: “Today the fate of Jon and his companions shows that circuses do not only make animals suffer, they also make them die.”
In a statement, One Voice said: “If a circus wants to save money or no longer needs its animals, it will starve them until death ensues. In any case, the Ministry of Ecology does not have a register of these animals belonging to endangered species, and feline traffickers, omnipresent between circuses, immediately replace them.”
The four lionesses have clearly been mistreated, according to One Voice, who added that the veterinary report on their health states that they are suffering from “lameness, wounds, muscle wasting, loss of posterior motor skills…”
Muriel Arnal said: “We are dealing with wild animals which are disappearing in the wild, and which we inflict the worst cruelties in all illegality. Whenever we sounded the alarm for them, we were offered meetings. But where are the actions?
“Chatting around the table is very nice, but during this time the animals stay in the lorries! Will [the new Minister of Ecological Transition] Barbara Pompili be a courageous minister who will quickly take the long-awaited decree, as did most of our neighbours? We hope so. In the meantime, if we have to rescue these circus animals one by one, we will do it.”
One Voice thanked the agents working at the Office Français de la Biodiversite (French Office for Biodiversity) and the Evreux prosecutor’s office. They also thanked the new Prefect of the Eure department, Jerome Filippini who they said “realised the importance of this matter and made it possible to organise the seizure of Jon and then Hannah, Patty, Celeste and Marli.”
They also said that the prefecture is filing a complaint against the circus for the mistreatment of Hannah, Patty, Celeste and Marli, and will also be stripping it of its certificate of competence (which allows the trainer to handle the animals).
In an exclusive interview with Newsflash, Muriel Arnal said that the operation to save the four lionesses “went very well” but that the lionesses have “handicaps”, “were very stressed”, and that she “does not know if we can heal them”.
She told Newsflash they had “lots of scars”, with one in particular being “very thin” and “unable to stand up”. She said “one is very afraid of everything” and it took them “an hour and a half just to get her to leave the transport box” she was in.
She lamented that they gave one “a ball to play with” and she defended it ferociously “because she had never had a toy like that”.
She said “another appeared to discover wood for the first time” and enjoyed scratching it with her claws.
She added: “That one has her claws, but it is currently unclear if the other three had been declawed.”
She said she also believes there are other lions that need rescuing too.
One Voice said they will “see the trainers in court where they will have to answer for the mistreatment inflicted on these five lions”.
Jon the lion was recently rescued from the same circus, the Cirque de Paris, and was found to be severely emaciated, with his teeth removed and his front claws missing. He had to have part of his tail amputated but has since put on some weight and is doing better, One Voice told Newsflash.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.