Snakes at Moulin Rouge show at center of controversy

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Paris (AFP) – The famous Paris cabaret hall Moulin Rouge has been at the center of controversy since late December, when an animal protection association condemned the use of snakes immersed in an unsuitable basin of water.

On November 30, 2021, the introduction of a law aimed at combating animal abuse is strongly voiced, so there is more control over the introduction of wild animals.

But “the Moulin Rouge, which presents a show featuring snakes, is not affected by this law, which has led to many improvements, including the banning of any show involving wild animals in nightclubs and on television from 2023,” said deputy Loic Dombreval, co-author of the bill. , told AFP.

In the daily cabaret show, a dancer dives into a transparent pool and manipulates large pythons trying to keep their heads above water.

The Paris Animals Zoopolis (Paz) association launched an online petition on Tuesday against the cabaret management against the “exploitation” of snakes in the Moulin Rouge revue.

“We demand a public commitment from the management of the Moulin Rouge to stop using pythons and any other kind of animal in their shows. It is not their place! It is against the condition of the animals, against their needs,” he told AFP. Paz co-founder Amandine Sanvicens after performing outside the cabaret on December 28.

“Throughout the number, the snake tries to keep its head above water. This environment is not suitable for reptiles,” he says.

Preparations ahead of the reopening of the Moulin Rouge on September 9, 2021 in Paris after its closure due to the Covid-19 crisis © Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP/Archive

The main question

Moulin Rouge told Le Parisien at the end of December: “We have never abused animals and never will.”

According to Cabaret, these reptiles are “a type of swimming python that is designed to live in an aquatic environment as well as a dry one.”

For Alice Georges, an animal keeper at Tropical Farm in Paris who specializes in new pets (Nac), including reptiles, “it’s against nature to submerge a snake, except for water snakes like anacondas.”

“It has to have a reflex to hold its breath and try to come to the surface to breathe, which should stress it out. If the water is treated, it’s not good for it,” he explains. In a video posted online, a zookeeper says he recognizes reticulated pythons and molurus pythons. “They are not swimmers. What they are subjected to is horror,” he fumed.

The city of Paris, contacted by AFP, says it has virtually no means of regulatory action. Reptile advocates emailed Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo, saying, “We think that by replacing this view with snakes, you can encourage the direction of the Moulin Rouge to evolve.”

Deputy Danielle Simonnet and Aymeric Caron, co-rapporteurs of the enforcement mission of the law of November 30, 2021, wrote to the cabaret management on Thursday in the same spirit.

According to Danièle Simonnet, it is a matter of substance. “If Moulin Rouge is not stuck within the law because it is not a disco, its description is essentially in question. It does not appear why the suffering of the beast in the performance is different in a place like a nightclub restaurant or a place like a cabaret,” he said.

“This law did not allow to cover all the subjects and like any law, it needs to be improved”, – judge Loic Dombreval. He hopes that “parliamentarians discuss this issue and any spectacle involving wild animals is stopped at a time when it has never been more important for our dwindling biodiversity to change the relationship between people and life. wild”.

“We are waiting for the outcome of this case. Regardless of whether a complaint will be filed or not,” the agency’s spokesperson told AFP.

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