Animal rights groups expressed outrage yesterday (Sat) after an escaped circus tiger was shot dead by its owner as it roamed the streets of Paris near the Eiffel Tower.
The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, established by the film star turned animal rights activist, called for an immediate ban on wild animals in circuses in response to the tiger’s death.
“It’s a miracle that there were no human victims,” the foundation said in a statement. “It is essential to react immediately and ban this exploitation of wild animals reduced to slavery.”
Terrified Paris residents called firefighters after spotting the 440-pound feline wandering near a tram line on Friday. Services were halted as panic spread while social media relayed the news.
Valérian Fuet, a fire brigade spokesman, said: “The tiger was already dead when we arrived.” Its body was found just over a mile from the Eiffel Tower.
Eric Bormann, the circus manager who killed the animal, was briefly taken into custody. Police have opened an investigation.
Mr Bormann said he shot it “for the safety of the public” after failing to capture it alive. He said the door of its enclosure had been left open in what he suspected was “an act of malice”.
Mr Fuet said the tiger was shot in an alley. “It was not in the street, there were no passers-by.” It escaped from the Bormann-Moreno circus which was preparing to open next week.
Philippe Goujon, the mayor of the 15th arrondissement where the tiger was shot, said there was now “no question of allowing the circus to go ahead as planned.”
The Brigitte Bardot Foundation pointed out that 13 other EU member-states have banned animals in circuses and said it was “outraged” that France had not already done so.
The Bird Protection League, which also campaigns in defence of other animals, voiced a similar demand.