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Killing of Paris tiger prompts anti-circus protests

The killing of a tiger in Paris that had escaped from a travelling circus has prompted protests and renewed calls to ban circuses from using animals at all.

The tiger - later discovered to have been named Mevy - was killed by three bullets after escaping from the Bormann Moreno circus that had been parked in the Carlo-Sarrabezolles square in the city’s 15th arrondissement, reports French news source 20 Minutes.

The tiger roamed free near the France Télévisions buildings, before forcing the transport authority RATP to halt tramway traffic on the 3A line.

The animal was then shot by its owner, Eric Bormann, ostensibly to stop it escaping further, causing any more damage, or running the risk of injuring any members of the public.

Now, many associations have demanded that circuses no longer be allowed to use real animals in their acts or keep wild animals in their entourage.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation in particular sent a series of strongly-worded Tweets to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, asking “We will have to wait for an even more-serious incident [to happen] before you do something? Will the next carnage have to happen in a school? Tigers raised as slaves, dying as fugitives...we must stop this circus!”.

The Foundation also claimed that 13 EU states had already banned the practice.

The Paris Animaux Zoopolis joined the calls, requesting that the government create a law “forbidding circuses from keeping and exploiting wild animals”. It continued, asking: “Can Paris, which is getting ready to host the Olympic Games in 2024, really allow circuses to use wild animals at the same time?”

The animals rights group PETA, along with its ambassador, US star Pamela Anderson, also sent a letter to 30,000 mayors across France demanding that “all towns and communes join in to forbid the arrival of animal circuses in their area”.

Across France, 65 communes  - including 17 with more than 20,000 inhabitants - have already forbidden animal circuses, including Villeurbanne and Ajaccio in Corsica.

And yet, the owners of the slain tiger, Eric Bormann and his wife Alexandra Bormann, have defended their actions, and said that they “suspect an act of malice” was to blame for the tiger’s escape.

The circus owns nine tigers in total.

The duo alleges that their system of doors, chains and padlocks is foolproof, and that the tiger only escaped as a chain and a padlock had been purposefully “cut through”.

“I am the one who looks after the tigers, and there is a whole protocol to follow when looking after these animals,” explained Alexandra, speaking to 20 Minutes.

“We have a veranda with a pool and trees [for the animals], and even if an animal were to escape from here, it should still remain enclosed - it’s basically a cage, in another cage. I have never seen an escape happen in the 40 years I have worked in Paris.”

Eric Bormann said the tiger, which had been born and raised in the circus and bottle-fed by hand since it was a cub, had escaped through a door that was not normally in use, and that the padlock securing it had been deliberately cut.

The couple said that killing an animal they had raised since birth had caused them “immense pain”, but that the laws of Paris forced them to shoot to kill, because a tranquiliser dart had been deemed too risky.

An judiciary investigation is now underway to see if the circus will be deemed to have “put lives of others in danger”.

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