Saturday 24 March 2018 | 23

The example of Ajaccio and Bastia for circus animals

On March the 19th and the 20th, we were invited by the activists of "La Corse dit stop aux cirques avec animaux" (Corsicans say stop to circuses with animals), to meet with the town halls of Bastia and Ajaccio, to discuss the most effective way of reinforcing these measures that they have put in place to prohibit the installation of circuses with animals on their territory.

Hr blog

Bastia was the first stop on our working trip to Corsica on Saint Joseph's Day, one of the most important days for the city. The town hall was closed to honour the procession of the patron saint of Bastia, and Pierre Savelli, the mayor, still spared a moment to greet us. His chief of staff, Jean-Yves Bonifay, opened the town hall especially for our interview.

We were able to bring to him many elements of legal order, an expertise on the decree taken by the city in 2017. In fact, the family circus syndicate systematically assaulted the decisions of the town halls to ban circuses with animals, seeking to exploit any potential flaws. It must be said that to circulate these ideas on the internet, unfortunately for the town halls, are far from reliable.

And in any case, what we have learned is that in Corsica also, the Circus people do not hesitate to break the law by settling without authorization, even to threaten campaigners with handguns. 

The last one to have obtained authorization to settle, has done on the express condition that none of the animals are on show, Mr Bonifay adds: "There will be birds and cats. Pets, we will be keeping an eye open”. Because the decree of the mayor of Bastia specifies that the ban is valid for wild animals but also domestic, and affects not only elephants and big cats but also llamas, dogs etc...

For the mayor of Bastia and his chief of staff, the debate is strong within society, and which requires a strong response from the representatives of the people.

The next day in Ajaccio, the same warm welcome from Laurent Marcangeli is reserved for us. The mayor of this imperial city receives us in his office, under a portrait of Josephine, the wife of Napoleon.

The decision - unanimously - from the Municipal Council, prohibiting circuses with animals to settle in the municipality is attacked by the Circus people, with the support of the Prefecture. Beyond all considerations essential for the well-being of the citizens of Ajaccio, such as the safety of the public during events, Laurent Marcangeli is extremely committed to supporting the animal cause, and listening to his citizens. "From the beginning of this matter, I am acting with conviction, I know that it is a strong, very strong and legitimate debate today, which agitates the public debate, and that many municipalities have the same position as me."

"I do not want to deprive the children of Ajaccio of shows, but I do not want to take my children to see some of these shows, it's not a natural environment, it does not educate the child the realities of these beings.”

This elected man has already many years of experiences behind him and multiplies projects in favour of animals. He has already opposed in his city the installation of a traveling aquarium, which contains a shark. He plans to set up a refuge for cats and to fight against strays in a sustainable way, and to support the local community networks in difficulties on combating this theme. He tackles issues related to urban lifestyles that encompass animals. During our exchange, no animal has been forgotten.

These two Corsican politicians are attached to the exceptional natural heritage of their island, and work – as pioneers- to put municipal actions in place in accordance with their convictions for the defence of animals, in the general interest, and the popular demand. For the Sate of France a lesson in democracy is to be learnt here.

Jessica Lefèvre-Grave
Hr blog

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Comments 23

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

sophie | Wednesday 02 May 2018

2ème tentative diplomatique pour exprimer un avis expérimenté sur le sujet abordé par l' article:

Les 2 villes citées font partie de la liste des communes françaises qui se positionnent contre les cirques avec animaux–esclaves, liste qui s’ allonge mais reste trop courte à date. A nous tous d‘ agir en informant les maires de nos “pays”, par exemple en diffusant le vadémécum de One Voice ou en faisant des manifestations pacifiques devant les cirques avec animaux.

Quand au tableau quasiment idyllique que présente l’ article, d’ une région qui serait exemplaire en matière d’ empathie, prise de conscience et démocratie... il détone avec la réalité dans laquelle j’ ai vécu et milité de longues années.

Si positiver est essentiel pour avancer sur le difficile chemin de la cause animale, rester objectif et réaliste l’ est tout autant.

sophie | Monday 30 April 2018

J’espère bien sur que ces 2 maires sont sincères et cohérents dans leur démarche, mais que la défense des animaux réponde à la demande populaire …hum .
Car pour avoir vécu , travaillé et aussi fait de la protection animale sur cette île je ne dirais sûrement pas qu’ elle est un modèle pour la condition animale en général, puisque la cruauté et l’ indifférence y sont pires qu’ailleurs pour ce que j’ en ai constaté .
Quant à la « leçon de démocratie pour l’Etat « je ne comprends pas le fondement de cette affirmation . Un des enseignements de mes années corses : à les écouter ils sont exemplaires en tout; à y vivre les yeux et les oreilles ouverts, c’est une toute autre histoire.
Pour mémoire quand je faisais signer des pétitions One Voice sur mon stand, la majorité des gens signait pour le simple plaisir d’écrire Corse et non France dans la colonne « pays «. On était loin d‘ une motivation animaliste et quand on sait ce que coute cette île aux contribuables Français...

LILLOU | Sunday 08 April 2018

Bravo la Corse. Ils peuvent être fiers d'eux.

pascale | Friday 06 April 2018

Bravo à ces Messieurs, c'est une avancée pour notre humanité. De nombreuses villes devraient suivre. Je pense à la ville de Guérande (44350) qui accueille chaque année le cirque Bouglione, sur une très grande prairie, au bord d'un très grand rond point, très fréquentée à la sortie de la ville, en direction de Nantes, Vannes, le Croisic, des milliers de véhicules circulent, et les pauvres animaux en plein soleil, en plein vent, respirent nos gaz d'échappement et ne peuvent échapper au tumulte des moteurs. Le cirque reste pratiquement deux mois sur place, c'est un crève cœur. J'espère que les citoyens vont faire part de leur désaccord à la mairie.
amicalement,
pascale

one voice | Friday 06 April 2018

oui, nous connaissons la ville de Guérande, nous sommes déjà intervenus auprès de la municipalité à ce sujet. merci de vous sentir concernée par ce que vivent ces animaux.