Monday 14 March 2022 | 9

Victory: a lion taken away from a trainer from the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe

Victory: a lion taken away from a trainer from the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe

Mis à jour le 09 June 2022

A three-year-old lion named Tarzan has been seized from Joseph Gougeon at the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe! A great victory for our team who have been working hard for years to save the big cats from the Gougeon’s grasp; this family of circus trainers are sadly well-known because Jon had been seized from one of them, and because a lion that died there had the same identification number as him...

Hr blog

Photo: The lion seized from the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe in the circus’ lorry-cage in Jons, October 2021.

Our belligerence rewarded

The overall pressure that we have implemented on the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe and the prefectures who the animals have depended on for months has ended up paying off. A three-year-old lion has just been taken away from Joseph Gougeon by the authorities due to his lack of a licence (and for good reason: it had been taken off him in 2017 and since, during checks, formal notices have been issued one after the other because there is not always a capable person present). Our proceedings, together with the publication of our investigations online and in the press, are not for nothing.
The young lion will not be a victim of mistreatment... Considering the photo in the newspaper and lack of response from the circus community, we can legitimately doubt it.

But not all is won: we are still looking for where the three remaining lionesses are. Incidentally, going back a little in our work, if all the lions at the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe had been entrusted to us back in 2019 when the authorities had rightly stated that Joseph Gougeon was keeping them without authorisation to open and in the absence of a capable person, we wouldn’t be here!

To be precise (as happened in other cases, for Lechmee or Micha for example), it is not in the direct context of one of our complaints that the removal happened. But the substantive work of the Association cannot be denied, and the result is on point!

Gougeon and his consorts, masters at sleight-of-hand games

For years now, we have investigated the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe, a circus on the outskirts of Lyon, and more widely the other different circuses belonging to the Gougeon family. Among the family circuses are the Cirque Italiano (see our petition to save the big cats that they are keeping) and the Cirque de Paris (Jon and his four companions seized by Steve Gougeon were part of it)... This investigation has led us to the Puces de Saint Ouen, to a taxidermist’s shop, against a backdrop of trafficking wildlife products.

The family of circus performers is used to these arrangements, to not talking about their scheming. About the identities of the lions, for example. The logbook is rarely up-to-date and is often missing, including during trials... so, the authorities discovered during their inspections that, at the Gougeon’s, the lions that come, selectively, from another circus in the family, are already dead, or might even have been held for months...

The Nouveau Cirque Triomphe has as many proceedings as they do scandals

We have an administrative proceeding ongoing in Lyon against the Rhône Prefecture which is responsible for wild animals in its territory, and on which the animals kept by the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe depend.

In terms of criminal proceedings (against the circus), we filed a complaint before the Lyon Prosecutor on 16 June 2021, to which three additional complaints were added over time, including one concerning the taxidermy of a deceased lion with the same identification number as Jon, at the time living his best life in our partner shelter.

Then we learnt that the four (the lion and three lionesses) would have been sold by Gougeon to Guy Mordon, another circus trainer registered in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. We therefore filed a complaint against him before the Grenoble Prosecutor on 23 February, because his licence (a way in to keep and train wild animals) did not authorise him to keep as many big cats, especially since he had an excess of them before even receiving those from his friend... an operation that was however authorised and even supervised by the Rhône Prefecture! However, on Friday (three days before writing and publishing this article), we have just contacted the Grenoble Prosecutor again regarding the Mordon case... a coincidence that questions the goings-on that collide so much.

Lastly, recently alerted to the return of these lions to the Nouveau Cirque Triomphe, we have filed a new complaint (the latest to date) in Lyon...

We are therefore writing today to the Director of the Rhône DDPP (Prefecture), so that she can tell us where we can find the three remaining lions, since they are no longer (were they really there at all?) with Guy Mordon. The mystery remains a mystery and this is not really reassuring.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Julia Mothé
Hr blog

In the subject

Against all odds for Samba, the last ‘circus’ elephant, whose suffering has broken the State’s indifference We will defend the animals from the Franco-Belge Circus before the courts.

Comments 9

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

Eric D | Thursday 07 April 2022

Infernal, duperie et cruauté. Ces cirques sont de lamentables manifestations. À boycoter !!!

Mme Loup | Friday 01 April 2022

Merci encore à One Voice pour son courage et sa persévérance pour défendre de pauvres animaux sauvages, captifs et misérables ! À quand la fin des cirques avec des fauves !

amie des animaux | Sunday 20 March 2022

Je vous encourage de tout cœur pour continuer les combats en faveur des animaux. Grand MERCI pour votre persévérance, courage et détermination à sauver nos amis si vulnérables dans la main des hommes cupides, sans compassion, ni respect pour ces animaux qui ne peuvent que subir maltraitance, humiliation et irrespect de leur nature!!!

Bandit | Friday 18 March 2022

Je suis heureuse d'apprendre la saisie de ce lion, donc le cirque de Paris est devenu le cirque Triomphe...J'ai très bien connu leurs agissements vis à vis de leurs animaux et j'avais fait appel à une asso il y a plusieurs années mais sans résultat et là je vois que vous vous en êtes occupé...Je vous remercie pour votre action.