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Europe’s circus of horrors: Rescuers discover appalling animal cruelty as they race to free tigers and lions

Circuses sometimes train the tigers to step backwards and forwards by using hot plates, so the animals will learn not to do it again if it hurts.

RHIAN LUBIN: ‘Govani the lion had a miserable existence, living in a circus where he was kept in a rusty two-by-two-metre square cage. His claws were ripped out, his two large canine teeth had been removed and he became so distressed in the end that he bit off his own tail. He was put through this agony for one reason – so he could perform every night for the delight of big-top audiences. More than 1,000 animals are currently forced to perform in circuses across Eur­­ope, many in appalling conditions.

Each night, emaciated lions and tigers are locked up in filthy, cramped cages, living in horrifying squalor. They are trained using methods bordering on torture so they will jump through flaming hoops or leap from podium to podium. When the magnificent big cats are no longer fit enough to perform, or their appearance becomes too ragged, they are locked away and fed the bare minimum by owners who no longer have any use for them…

Pablo Delgado, team leader of the big cat department at AAP [Animal Advocacy and Protection], shows us a tiger which has been rescued from elsewhere, who begins pawing playfully at Chris through the fence. He points and explains: “This tiger has something wrong with her paws. It is likely they have been burnt on a hot plate… Circuses sometimes train the tigers to step backwards and forwards by using hot plates, so the animals will learn not to do it again if it hurts”…

Located in the hills of Villena, near Alicante, AAP’s large enclosures help its lions, tigers, leopards and lynxes, as well as primates, to recover. The centre is slowly working with circuses continent-wide to free abused animals… Scotland last year passed legislation to ban wild animals in circuses and over half of local authorities in the UK already refuse to allow them to put on shows in their area. But so far they are not banned in England and Wales’. SOURCE…

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