Complaints lodged by One Voice (against Alain Zavatta, Cirque de Paris, Franck Zavatta, Christiane Grüss, Arlette Grüss, Willie Zavatta, Pacific Circus, Louis Zavatta, etc.) about the illegal detention and poor treatment of animals were dismissed as “insufficiently characterized infractions” and for the reason that it was “impossible to find the establishments.”
One Voice claims damages
On February 26, 2001, One Voice filed its first complaint against the Alain Zavatta circus in a Nice court. This complaint was dismissed.
On November 19, 2002, One Voice and other associations again claimed damages against the same circus. In November 2001, the director of veterinary services in Nièvre filed a report claiming the circus did not have a permit for its two elephants, one hippopotamus, 12 tigers, and one zebra, that it had no commercial license, was irresponsible with its accounting, and was poorly treating a hippopotamus. We asked the Nevers court to release these animals and place them in an environment where their fundamental needs could be met.
Amnesty for the guilty?
The November 19, 2002,court hearing began with an unexpected event. Confirmation of licensing for the 12 tigers and the zebra arrived by fax. The counsel general thus asked for a court order freeing the elephants and the hippopotamus, but the judge only granted the release of Tara the hippo. Despite a decision that continues to allow the circus to illegally keep elephants, Tara’s release was a victory. There is finally some recognition of the inadequacy of a circus environment to animals’ basic needs.
When we last heard, however, there was another unexpected event: the court decided to give amnesty to the director of the Zavatta circus, Arsène Cagniac.
In other words, not only is he continuing to run his circus illegally, but he’s sentencing the animals to a life of misery.
Constant suffering for hippopotami and elephants
It is particularly cruel to detain hippopotami -- semi-aquatic and social animals -- in circuses.
Whatever the temperature, circus hippos are lugged around like merchandise, from town to town, in the backs of trucks. The only water available to them is in small tubs, which often go empty. According to experts, not only do such tubs not meet hippos’ aquatic needs, but they can also cause articular lesions. Moreover, hippos show little aptitude for training; their inability to participate in circus acts makes their detainment all the more egregious.
African elephants also continue to live a slavish existence, confined and chained up in trucks without access to grass or water. A circus’s commercial license is valid only if it can prove the adequacy of its animals’ living conditions. This is not the case with the Zavatta circus.
Will circus presenters again use force -- as they did at Cagnes, Morzine, Nevers, Avoriaz, Aixles-Bains, etc. -- in order to continue profiting from the suffering of their animals?
One Voice intensifies/strengthens its campaign
To complement the report “Sick Circus Animals or Itinerant Slavery?”, One Voice has prepared a video. It took only nine minutes to prove that detention and training in French circuses inflicts great suffering on animals.
Two new reports will also soon be available. The first looks at the living conditions of hippos, rhinos and giraffes in French circuses. The second continues our campaign against the captivity of bears by examining their treatment in France. The intention of both is to educate the public and to rally support for our campaign to abolish such “itinerant slavery.” While working towards this goal, we will take every opportunity to liberate captive animals. As opposed to the methods of the circus presenters, ours, as always, are legal and non-violent.
The unnatural circus
Animals who have been wrested from their natural environment, confined to truck cages, and trained with tools like lassos, sticks, whips, and picks are still the main attractions at modern circuses.
One Voice is fighting so that no more lions, elephants, hippos, monkeys, and other wild animals are denatured by such archaic practices. Circuses disrupt the natural order -- which human beings themselves are still a part of.