Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Great British Circus cruelty heads to Germany

Posted: 8 October 2013. Updated: 8 October 2013

ADI has expressed its disappointment that a number of big cats are to be subjected to a lifetime of circus suffering, following reports by the BBC that tigers bred in the UK by Martin Lacey, the owner of the infamous Great British Circus, will be sent to his sonsí circus in Germany.

Just last year, the Great British Circus wound up operations and relocated its tigers to Courtney Brothers Circus in Ireland.

The Great British Circus has a reputation for cruelty, violence and deception following a number of incidents exposed by ADI.

  • ADI undercover footage released earlier this year shows tigers being lashed with whips and hit with sticks by Mr Lacey and his daughter during training.
  • Last year, a government circus inspection report released following a Freedom of Information request by ADI revealed big cats at the Great British Circus lived the whole year in cages on the back of transporters, tigers gave birth whilst on tour and enclosures used to house the big cats were smaller than deemed acceptable in zoos.
  • A previous ADI investigation of the circus (then known as Circus Harlequin) filmed tigers being beaten and screamed at, a lioness being smashed in the mouth with a tent pole, and a seriously injured lioness being concealed during a welfare inspection
  • The Great British Circusí abuse of animals was not limited to big cats; in 2009, ADI video footage showed a worker and presenter hitting elephants in the face with a metal elephant hook, a broom and a pitchfork. ADI later revealed how the circus had presented Parliament with claims that they did not chain their elephants, despite continuous video evidence showing the elephants chained and barely able to move every day, for up to 11 hours.

Animals from the former Great British Circus are continuing to suffer; the same viciously abused circus elephants are presently touring Sweden and remain in the custody of their abuser following his violent attacks.

Take action

  • Find out more about the Great British Circus here
  • Read about our global campaign to end circus suffering here
  • Make a donation to support our campaign and investigations here

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