Tuesday 09 June 2020 | 23

Saving Jon, a lion who suffered agonies, from a circus in France

Mutilated, starved, shut in, transported, subjugated … That’s what Jon will have known all his life. We have saved him from the circus that had been exploiting him. The repeated lies of the veterinary services are more and more flagrant.
Jon has escaped from hell and we shall never let him return.
But how many others are still there?

Hr blog

Just skin and bones

Jon has just been saved and we have been entrusted to look after him by the Procurator of Évreux and the agents of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) of Eure whom we thank for this collaboration started 2 years ago. He is in an even worse condition than lions in zoos in countries devastated by war. Yet he was in a circus in France!


What are the authorities doing?

We have been following their ordeal for two years and all that time the authorities responsible for the welfare of the animals and checking on them regularly have done absolutely nothing. To the press, the prefecture of Eure said on the day of the seizure that the animals were “generally healthy “.

Four lionesses, Jon’s former fellow prisoners, Hannah, Patty, Celeste and Marli, are still in the hands of the trainer. We filmed them too from 2018 until last March. We are lodging a complaint in their name!

First steps into a comfortable future

On reaching our partner, the refuge Tonga Terre d'Accueil, Jon, torpid from the journey, finally arrives in his enclosure. The ground is so soft and gentle under his paws! His expression, astonished but still fearful, is heartbreaking. There is a trough of water for him. But he doesn’t know what it is and knocks it over. His paws ‘scratch’ and seem to want to move it but they can’t. There is no sound of claws. Suddenly it dawns on us: he has been declawed! Then he lowers his head and takes the trough in his mouth. He bites so hard that it makes a screeching noise. These sounds reflect his agony. He has no canine teeth left: all his teeth have been ground down to the pulp. These are his first acts on leaving the cage in which he has been transported: seeking to relieve the dreadful pain.

« Jon shows the stigmata of the mutilations and acts of cruelty that he has suffered for years with no respite. The torture he has endured is that of all circus lions, majestic animals reduced to the status of puppets used purely for entertainment. And even what weak legislation exists to protect them is not complied with, because the authorities responsible turn a blind eye. Circuses are way of mistreating animals legally ... and as a result they die. »
Muriel Arnal, founding-presidente-fondatrice of One Voice

Claws and teeth pulled out, starved ...

That’s what he has suffered in addition to hunger: mutilations. There is no doubt that they were carried out in order to make it easier to subjugate him. When he arrives he is a young lion with no teeth, with no claws, with no strength, lying prostrate in a corner as if he has lost the will to live. The truth is far from the claptrap of the trainers who seek to justify captivity as providing a better quality of life in wagons far from the poachers hunting trophies in Africa! Jon is on the verge of death and permanently suffering! The teams from Natuurhulpcentrum, our Belgian partners who have come to help us provide initial care, are still in shock. Jon has open wounds on his tail and a lot of scars, the skin on his belly is hanging down, his ribs are visible … Who knows what other abuse he has suffered?

« I have worked on the issue of wild animals in circuses for 16 years, yet I was shocked to see the condition that Jon is in. He is extremely underweight; it will become more clear in time whether this is either a result of inadequate feeding or an underlying health condition. I am delighted that he is now in a place of safety where his health can be examined and addressed properly, and we look forward to working with OneVoice and other partners to devise a plan to relocate him to a lifetime care facility in due course. Jon’s condition is proof, once again, that circuses are no place for wild animals. »
Dr. Chris Draper, head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, Born Free

A gradual improvement

The first days at the refuge, the metal trough has been replaced by a tub fixed in such a way that Jon can drink. As he is suffering terribly and has no teeth he is fed with small pieces of food. It is a very gradual return to eating, in fact, because a ‘normal’ quantity of food could kill him.

He now takes pleasure in playing with the ball and the branches that have been provided to enrich his daily life by a team looking after him. He has also discovered his exterior enclosure, which is open to the sky, and has felt the sun’s rays on his scrawny fur for the first time. Despite the uncertainly of the outcome, since numerous medical checks will have to be carried out, it is already easy to see that his condition is improving.

One Voice is grateful to her partners: the Born Free Foundation, the rescue centres Tonga Terre d’accueil and NaturuumHulpCentruum.

A hearing is expected to take place at a later date, because unfortunately the fact that Jon has been seized does not affect the outcome of the trial in any way. We shall fight to the end for Jon not to return to the hell that he has endured.

Let's write to the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition!

Via Twitter

Jon is not from a zoo in a country at war. @onevoiceanimal rescued him from a French circus in June 2020. According to @Prefet27 he is in good health.

@Ecologie_Gouv, @Elisabeth_Borne, @brunepoirson, #BanCircusAnimals, when they will all be dead? https://www.lion-de-cirque.fr/en/

Via le site du ministère

Dear Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition,

Jon isn't from a zoo in a country at war. One Voice rescued him from a circus in France, several days ago, in June 2020. According to the Prefet of Eure, animals in this circus are in good health.

#BanCircusAnimals, when they will all be dead? https://www.lion-de-cirque.fr/en/

Respectfully,

Translated from the French by Patricia Fairey

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

The torture has ended for Hannah, Céleste, Patty and Marli.
Unprecedented in France: the action of One Voice results in four lionesses being seized from a circus because of ill-treatment.

Comments 23

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

Isa45 | Wednesday 08 July 2020

Enfin libre
Jamais je ne baisserai les bras tant qu'il y aura des animaux victimes de la cruauté de l'homme je me battrai
La terre des lions t'attends Jon après tant d'années tu es libre
Merci à tous comme toujours une équipe FORMIDABLE ensemble nous ne lacherons rien pour le bien être animal

Mina | Thursday 02 July 2020

Je suis si peiné pour Jon et tous les animaux maltraités et torturés, honte d'être un être humain, comment peut-on faire cela ????
Je suis Jon en le traitant en magnétisme et barreur de feu. Je souhaite plus que tout qu'il s'en sorte ! Je hais ce cirque qui a fait ça, il faut dénoncer le nom de ce cirque et enlever tous les animaux dans ces cirques qui sont prisonniers et maltraités etc.....

DANY | Thursday 25 June 2020

Honteux! Pauvre bête, comment peut-on faire tant de mal à ces animaux magnifiques ? Espérons qu'il puisse vivre maintenant sa vie de lion. Humains malveillants, qui êtes-vous pour vous comporter de cette façon ? Vous méritez un châtiment et j'espère qu'il sera proportionnel à celui que vous avez infligé à ces animaux.

K-rin | Friday 19 June 2020

J'apporte déjà mon soutien financier à Tonga, j'ai lu la malheureuse aventure de Jon et je vous remercie pour vos actions bienveillantes!