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If you visit a circus which has wild animals you are condoning animal cruelty. Do not visit them and encourage your friends not to visit. This way the circus owners will one day give up on wild animals.

On our way to the coast last week we saw lots of posters for a circus which is touring this part of France and the big attraction or so they think is a white lion. My initial reaction was one of horror and disbelief that in the 21st century a civilised country like France should allow such blatant cruelty to wild animals and that an educated and sophisticated population would want to pay to see it.

Now any of you who have followed my blog will know that it is almost unheard of for me to criticise this region of France. I love it and my posts are invariably complimentary about this region, I did say it smells in Melle once- and it does- but apart from that everything in the garden is rosy and also, of course, I feel it would not be good for a guest to criticise a country that is playing host to him.

Anyway before having a go about something which is unquestionably wrong I decided to do a bit of internet research. I thought that wild animals had been banned from circuses in Britain and I wanted to find out if France was one of the last remaining countries in Europe to still allow this barbaric behaviour.  NO… it seems that this is the norm. Only Greece and Bosnia Herzegovina have banned this activity.  It is still legal throughout  virtually all of Europe.  In Britain there is only a private member’s bill to enact legislation to stop wild animals being part of a circus. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/wildanimalsincircuses.html.

The government is intending to enact something but it seems they are dragging their heels because of possible legal battles that might ensue. I can’t see what these would be. Lion trainers (baiters) might claim it was depriving them of a living, but the government banned smoking in public places and that might have affected the living of publicans but that went through OK. However in Britain a vast number of local authorities have taken matters into their own hands and banned circuses with wild animals. Now I believe there are only 5 wild animals still in circuses in Britain.

The Circus Claudio Zavatta is one of many Zavatta circuses. These all derive from Achilles Zavatta (1915-1993) a famous circus personality who came from Tunisia and set up circuses in the last century.  The particular circus touring this region has lots of animals  some domestic like horses, ponies donkeys and pigs but it also has llamas and camels (semi domestic) and then 3 zebras and 13 lions, definitely wild.

I will not go over in detail why it is cruel to use wild animals in a circus. It is well documented in various web sites. They spend most of their time in small cages being driven around the country. I remember seeing lions at London Zoo  back in the 1950’s and 60’s pacing back and forth because of stress caused by small enclosures and unnatural surroundings. Not a problem for these poor beasts as there is no room to pace about and at least the animals in the zoo had the same unnatural surroundings every day. These animals have an ever-changing situation, and we all know how stressful that is.   Furthermoe the so-called lion training is not training at all – it is a man with a whip goading them into unnatural positions and poses.  There- now I have started going through it all after all!. Have a look at the Four Paws  website if you are not convinced that this is totally wrong.

Added to this there would seem to be some degree of poor quality of care for all the animals in the circus Claudio Zavatta, I refer you to this website http://www.code-animal.com/blog/2010/07/cirque-claudio-zavatta/ for you to decide. Also to a report by the Animal Code Blog

So what is to de done about it?  There are two approaches. One is legislation and the other is to boycott any circus showing wild animals and poorly kept domestic animals.

To achieve the first objective we need to contact people who make the laws – local authorities, national government and the EU. so write to them or email them. If you know the appropriate contact addresses then let me know and I will add them to this post.

To achieve the second approach it is obvious that you should not visit a Circus like the Zavatta one now touring France. Persuade anyone you know who is thinking of visiting not to do so and to spread the word as to how cruel this is to the wider public. I assume that there must be a sufficient number of people living in France who are not aware or don’t care that this antiquated practice is still going on. It is like something out of Victorian times- bring back the bearded lady! Let’s have some bear-baiting as well to spice up the circus!  Please all bloggers will you re- blog this  and to all Facebook friends please send this on to your friends lets spread the message and bring France and the other countries indulging in this into the 21st century.

This is not a go just at the French, it is a go at all the countries who allow this phsycological cruelty against beautiful wild animals to take place.