Oh, look at the big tiger! » rushes a father with his two children on their way to a cage. Since Monday on the Pré de la Vignasse in Valbonne, a large yellow and red marquee has been erected. According to the posters placed all over the city, four performances are planned, the first of which will take place this evening at 6 p.m. The advertisement features a clown, an acrobat, an aerial silk dancer but no animals. A relief for the defenders of the animal cause who already opposed, until 2018, the arrival of the Gruss circus in the town each summer.
And yet! When we get closer to the huge tent, we can read in large letters on a vehicle: “The biggest hippopotamus in Europe! 3.000kg! » Indeed: just behind, we see the mammal, in a swimming pool mounted on the parking lot.
Next to it, three tigers are circling in a trailer. In another, lions. Further still, llamas, dromedaries, American bulls, ostriches. ” It’s horrible “lets out a shocked young woman, who has come to walk her dog.
“100% human” With a nuance
And it is with the same astonishment that Joseph Cesaro, the ecological mayor of Valbonne, discovered the installation. ” I don’t understand. When they contacted us to make their installation request, they assured us that the circus was “100% human”. It was my condition. I was cheatedhe defends himself, while dozens of Internet users express their anger on social networks.
An accusation rejected by John Muller, one of the circus managers: “We told them ‘100% human’ because that’s the theme of the show. We have human performances with artists who have won awards at the Monte Carlo festival. It’s true, we didn’t have any exchanges on animals with the mayor. But at the same time, when we talk about a circus, it is logical that there are animals…”
The law authorizes until 2028
Isn’t the presence of wildlife in circuses prohibited? In fact, not yet. According to the law of November 30, 2021 aimed at combating animal abuse and strengthening the link between animals and humans, the detention and performance of non-domestic animals in traveling circuses will no longer be authorized in… 2028.
And as for the troupe passing through Valbonne, John Muller affirms that the animals will take part in the show: “We don’t keep these animals for nothing. A lion costs us 50 euros a day in food, straw, and care. So they jump through the hoops, the hippopotamus opens its mouth… That’s what people want to see. We have already sold 500 tickets. » A detail that the City also ignored: “They told us the beasts wouldn’t perform. »
If a prefectural directive prevents the mayor from relying on the mere presence of animals to refuse the installation of the circus, Joseph Cesaro has nevertheless filed a sued for deception “in order to make them leave. A news far from making the Circassian tremble: “If the mayor puts us a letter to ban the show, I will assign him to court. He has no right to do that. »
Angry, the elected environmentalist ended up letting go: “This situation is regrettable. There may never be a circus again in Valbonne after all that. »