Thursday 29 April 2021 | 20

Feedback on the three Poliakov hearings in Orléans


Mis à jour le 16 May 2021

Since the triple administrative hearing in Orléans regarding the animals kept by the Poliakovs, the official case officer dismissed the three cases. In other words, she requested that the court dismiss our request to remove the animals remaining with the trainers and their permit to open, as well as the damages relating to the fact that the authorities have been so slow to act in the interest of the animals. But she also dismissed the request put forward by the Poliakovs to get Bony and Glasha back. The final decision was made by the President on 29 April 2021: to reject the three cases.

Hr blog

On 15 April just gone, the Orléans Administrative Court has looked at three cases concerning the animals kept by the Poliakovs.

  • We have requested the withdrawal of the trainers’ competency certificates, of their permit to open their establishment, as well as the removal of the animals remaining there: Mina the Barbary monkey, rare parrots, horses, and donkeys.
  • In the second case opposing the Prefecture of Loir-et-Cher, we requested damages and compensation for detriment concerning the fact that the animals have not been rescued by the Prefecture, who is responsible for doing so, prior to our on-site investigation and our warning. These two requests were rejected… until 12 May coming up.
  • Finally, we voluntarily intervened as a private party in the case opposing the Poliakovs against the Prefecture, because we wanted to insist on the fact that the Poliakov-Bruneaus would not one day be able to get Bony and Glasha back, which was something that they asked for. In this case, the Poliakovs’ request was rejected, thus we were successful in this instance.

Our lawyer is dotting the i’s

Our lawyer responded to the scathing comments made by the two other parties on the videos put on file, described as “unlawful” (even if the Prefecture recognised the “whistle-blower of the association’s work”), by insisting on the fact that One Voice were specifically forced to do this to show the reality of the prison conditions and the health of the animals kept at the Poliakovs’. However, isn’t it the Prefecture’s role to protect them and to act proactively?

Our lawyer has underlined the inconsistencies between all of the documents, reports, inspections, and veterinary boards arranged by the Prefecture over the last thirteen years at least: some warned of problems, shortcomings and discrepancies; others seemed to say that everything was fine. As a tragic example of this grotesque situation, our images of Micha with maggot-infested paws and severe breathing difficulties were answered by a video from AVES [A Voice for Endangered Species] France which showed him 700 kilometers away from the jails a few days later. Between these two instances, a veterinarian had permitted the Poliakovs to put her into a truck and to make her balance on a ball! Micha was in perfect health according to them.

The Prefecture put before the court that a legal attachment was in place concerning Mina and four birds; we had to correct this error. As the attachment was administrative, supervised by the Prefecture, the animals remained there in the trainers’ hands. We requested a legal attachment which would have allowed the animals to finally get out of that place.

The cherry on the cake was that the Prefecture failed to carry out a check on these animals since the end of 2019 because the trainers opposed it. The State’s services did not use the legal documents that would have permitted them access, despite them being widely used for controlling animals. In fact, the Prefecture argued that they should be in good health since the detention facilities now met the standards and seeing as the last check had taken place in November 2019 following the circulation of our images… surely health cannot deteriorate in seventeen months.

« If the Association had not sent investigators to climb on the roof of this establishment and into the jails, where we saw the true state of the bears, which effectively were ablaze with social networks and resulted in Ms Borne [Minister of Ecology at the time] to intervene directly, what would have happened? It was Ms Borne that sent a clear message to the commissioner telling him: “You must intervene for these bears”; it wasn’t the commissioner who took the lead! If the One Voice Association hadn’t produced 200 hours of video, if they hadn’t increased their efforts, these three bears would still be over there, and they would probably all be dead. »
One Voice’s lawyer during their speech at the hearing on 15/04/21

Lastly, even beyond animal wellbeing, which is essential in our eyes, these animals are of remarkable heritage from protected species. The trainers have repeatedly reiterated that they are attached to them. But what is this attachment that has pushed them to keep the bears in unsanitary jails, with Mina in a cage measuring 50cm2 and the birds in a dark shack? No one forced them to be responsible for animals!

A Prefecture on the defensive, to arguments that don’t carry

What a surprise! At the hearing, the Prefecture announced having suspended the permit to open the Poliakov establishment until June, awaiting the decision of the court which will convene in Blois in May. Since we requested this suspension: They have only just admitted “perhaps being delayed” to act on the inspections and formal warnings.

Lastly, the fact that the animals remaining are still there in custody of the Poliakovs doesn’t pose a problem to them. “We have no reason to believe that they could be unwell, in the sense that they are in enclosures which are now compliant, and furthermore the last report from the November 2019 visit does not report sick animals, apart from the bears.For the Prefecture, “there is no need to do more at this stage”.

An unclear role…

A comment on which the Prefecture and the Poliakov’s lawyer agreed on, nonetheless without making an argument or drawing a definitive conclusion, is the role of the Poliakovs’ previous veterinarian, having attested to the bears’ heath in the past and then criticised Micha’s detrimental medical condition once they became the veterinarian for La Tanière Association.

The trainers’ lawyer depicted a “drained” and “completely exhausted” couple and recalled that Micha had been taken to La Tanière “voluntarily” by Mr Poliakov, without specifying however that he would have been forced to do so a few days later if he did not provide her with care… For him,

« the autopsy report was extremely clear: the bear was operated on at La Tanière and died as a result of the operation, not because of medical negligence. Quite simply, because of the realisation that this bear had laryngeal cancer. This wasn’t the Poliakovs’ fault either. And it was during his extubation, during the operation, that he died. So, it was neither the Poliakovs’ fault, nor entirely La Tanière’s fault. We are being told today that he died of mistreatment, which is false. »
The Poliakovs' lawyer during their speech at the hearing on 15/04/21

These three “very sad cases”, as the Chairperson concluded on the day of the hearing, leave an unaccomplished taste in our mouths. We celebrate the fact that the Poliakovs cannot get Bony and Glasha/Franca back. But concerning the trainers’ permit to open their establishment, halted by the Prefecture, and the fate of the other animals, we are impatient to be in Blois on 12 May for the case pertaining to acts of cruelty and mistreatment.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

Circuses supply skins and corpses to a tout-Paris taxidermist. Eye opening. Poliakov trial: does France really protect wild animals?

Comments 20

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Poupette | Wednesday 12 May 2021

On se rend compte dans cet article que le bien-être animal n'est pas la priorité de la préfecture. Devant les preuves de maltraitance les Poliakov ne devraient plus avoir d'animaux. C'est inadmissible de laisser des situations semblables sans réaction.

trochu | Monday 10 May 2021

Où sont les défenseurs et protecteurs des animaux, les amis des animaux ? Je suis très souvent sidérée et plus qu'étonnée de constater le peu de commentaires et donc de signataires en faveur des animaux...

Cécilia | Monday 03 May 2021

Désolée de lire ces mauvaises nouvelles. Et une fois encore je n'y comprends rien au galimatias de la préfecture, de l'avocat des Poliakof (les pauvres, proches du burn out j'imagine, ils devraient tout lâcher et aller se reposer, euh... Ch'ai pas, en Ukraine tiens pourquoi pas, c'est joli et calme là-bas). Ce qui m'enquiquine c'est cette vétérinaire qui dit d'un côté que les nounours vont bien, et après elle se transfuge au refuge de la Tannière, où les patrons disent qu'elle est la meilleure véto du monde, ben alors ?? (pour sûr que sur Mars y'en a pas trop des gros bestiaux à retaper, pas vré le papé !!!) Il reste que c'est un vrai foutoir causé en partie par une préfecture au-dessus de toute cette soupe de dessous de table ! Si on met un bon enquêteur ça va faire du grabuge... Mais ça ne risque pas aujourd'hui au pays des ministères ripoux, vu qu'on a le 1er de la classe au poste de garde des sots, ça sent un peu le pâté de viande avariée toutes ces affaires. J'en reste pantelante de rage.
Bravo à vous tous de One-voice pour votre pugnacité !

trochu | Sunday 02 May 2021

Je prends connaissance des résultats de ces audiences et ce n'est QUE SCANDALEUX ET AHURISSANT vraiment une fois de plus, qui sont donc ces personnes de l'autorité pour agir constamment contre les animaux et jamais ou très rarement en leur faveur ? Ils devraient tous avoir honte, nous sommes en 2021 ET EN FRANCE ! A quand une justice réelle et totale pour les animaux ? Nous savons tous très bien ce que vaut la justice dans ce pays, ce n'est pas glorieux entre le laxisme total et la légèreté des peines il y à redire même pour les humains alors pour les animaux c'est l'indifférence totale, c'est le mépris total ! Le comble, un pays gouverné par un adepte de la chasse soutenant le lobby de celle-ci ce qui veut tout dire, pauvres animaux c'est à en vomir...
Nous vous soutenons tous ONE VOICE les amis et défenseurs des animaux pour parvenir à ouvrir les consciences de ce tribunal en mai afin que ces ours et tous autres animaux soient définitivement retirés à de telles ordures qui, excusez moi, mais ne méritent pas d'être nommés autrement, et afin qu'ils ne puissent plus jamais ouvrir d'autres cirques avec présence des animaux.