The Beauvais criminal court sentenced tiger trainer Mario Masson on Monday, November 28 to a fine of 5,000 euros and the confiscation of his ten felines for ill-treatment, Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned from the prosecution. It is also forbidden to breed and show animals to the public for two years.
The former circus artist will also have to pay 120,000 euros to the Tonga Terre reception association, for the care of felines in a special refuge in the Loire, since their seizure at the end of 2020. He will also have to pay more than 127,000 euros. to the civil parties, according to the lawyers of two of them, the animal defense associations One Voice and Stéphane Lamart.
At the end of his trial, which began at the end of September, Mr. Masson was also found guilty of multiple breaches of the labor code, benefit fraud and concealment of income. The court decided to confiscate the sums seized from his accounts in the amount of 61,000 euros. His lawyer, Olivier Roquain, told AFP to wait to discuss with his client for the launch of a possible appeal procedure.
The ten tigers of Mr. Masson had been seized at the end of 2020 in Blacourt, near Beauvais (Oise) as part of an investigation by the prosecution opened after a complaint from the association One Voice for “acts of animal abuse”. It had been entrusted to the French Office for Biodiversity. The association had also monitored and filmed the felines for several months, revealing the case in a series of videos posted online.
“This is the first time that a circus trainer has been convicted of ill-treatment”welcomed Muriel Arnal, president of One Voice, to AFP. “These tigers only knew the truck in which they lived, locked in spaces of 2 square meters between bars, and without water”she put forward, pointing a “appalling promiscuity for them”.
“We can only be satisfied with this decision which recognizes the discomfort suffered by these tigers”reacted Patrice Grillon, who represented the Stéphane Lamart Association.
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