Growing up I was never a cat-lover; we grew up with big, crazy dogs, and one of my favourite animals is the Irish Setter, bright but a bit crazy – a little like me. But in recent years I’ve fallen for our feline friends. I love their independence, intelligence and that unmistakable cat-swag. Which is why I was devastated to hear that a lynx that had escaped from a zoo had been shot and killed. What a senseless loss of an incredible creature.

Looking at pictures of the poor animal, I was reminded of my own cat. We found her whilst renovating our home in France five years ago – she was a kitten, just a week old, and had been abandoned by her mother. As a big ‘dog person’, I was initially staunchly against having a cat, but she melted my heart. This beautiful little thing jumped on my lap and it was love at first sight.

She was so small I named her Biggie, after the one-and-only Notorious B.I.G. – one of my favourite rappers when I was growing up. Despite being tiny, this little thing was tough and had a resilient character. She is utterly self-sufficient and lives in France, chillin’ until I can come and hang out with her on the weekends.

You might wonder why I am talking about cats, but I just had to express my outrage and sorrow at the killing of that incredible lynx. I had hoped beyond hope that the animal would be captured and returned to her home, so hearing that it had been shot was a blow. My first question was “why?”. If they had the lynx in sight to shoot it, why not hit it with a tranquillizer? It turns out that was because the authorities didn’t have the proper license to do so – but what an incredible shame to lose a life because of nothing more than admin and logistics.

The incident really has made me question deeply the very nature of containing animals and removing them from their natural habitats for human entertainment. It almost seems to me that man views animal life as expendable. I understand that most zoos work hard on conservation and the protection of animals – but this incident makes me think that really we have no business meddling in the animal world to this extent.

It’s now come to light that a second lynx died at the same zoo earlier this week – which really calls into question the standards and ethics of this particular institution, which should be thoroughly investigated.

At the weekends when I’m in France with Biggie snuggled on my lap, I struggle to comprehend the lack of compassion for animals that so many feel. They share this earth too, and it’s our responsibility to make sure there’s safe space for them to exist.

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