The show sadly goes on for ex-Ringling big cats in Europe.
Footage released today by Animal Defenders International shows the British-born trainer with his lions and tigers at the “Grande Fête Lilloise du Cirque” as the event opened in Lille, France over the weekend and where Lacey will be performing until 12 November before moving to Germany.
Twelve of Alexander Lacey’s fourteen big cats – seven tigers and five lions – perform in the 8-minute show which opens with the animals sat on stools, some in a ‘begging’ position. During the act, the big cats jump from stool to stool and over one another, snarling and swiping at the trainer on cue. One by one they leave the ring until just one remains, a male lion, with whom Lacey gives the obligatory circus big cat kiss.
A week before the big cats left for Europe one of Lacey’s tigers was shot dead by police in Georgia after escaping during a stop en route to Tennessee on 6 September. Spotted on the interstate, tiger Suzy entered a residential area and, as stated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, after she “became aggressive toward pets in the area, it was deemed necessary for public safety to put it down”.
Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy. Welfare is always compromised.