Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Death of a tiger

Posted: 25 May 2005

9th November 2004: A bell tolls discordantly as the body of a tiger is hauled from a cage on the back of a lorry. The animal is dropped unceremoniously onto its face, falling into a heap on the ground.

Two men start skinning the animal - slitting its body, pulling away its skin, then finally, hacking off its head with an axe.

Looking down on the whole process, the tiger’s cage mates.

This is the unceremonious final curtain call for animals with travelling circuses. No matter how endangered, no matter how deserving of our respect and protection.

This is the final scene in disturbing new video, entitled ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ released today (9th November) by Animal Defenders International (ADI).

A copy will be delivered today to Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street at 4.30pm by TV presenter Wendy Turner-Webster.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive ADI: “One of the most important points we are making with this new video is that circus animals live and die in these tiny miserable travelling cages. No other animals are forced to live in temporary, mobile accommodation for almost their entire lives right up until they die.”

Filmed in the UK, Europe, the USA and South America, the video depicts a life of deprivation and excessive restriction of movement for circus animals, punctuated by violence - the violence can take the form of a kick, a punch, a whipping or a full-blown beating with clubs or iron bars.

Many animals seen performing in the UK will also tour Europe, and sometimes the far East.

The tiger in the video ended its days in Spain. ADI Field Officers from the UK tracked circuses there from 2003 to 2004 often having to spend nights in the back of their van in order to keep up surveillance.

In the new video, ADI also catches up with notorious UK animal trainer Dicky Chipperfield, training tigers with Circus Pinder in France Chipperfield is seen hitting a tiger with a metal rod. Last year, his Chipperfield Enterprises operation in Oxfordshire, which had been Europe’s largest supplier of circus lions and tigers closed. Now Chipperfield is plying his trade in Europe.

Although animal circuses are at an all time low in the UK there are still circuses touring with lions, tigers, a bear and an elephant. ADI fear that without Government action, the bad old days will come flooding back (as recently as 1997, 16 elephants were touring the UK with travelling circuses).

Jan Creamer Chief Executive of ADI states: “Right now, the Government is deciding what will be included in the Animal Welfare Bill. There is a chance to finally end the use of animals in circuses, which is what most of the public wants.

"The Government’s Animal Welfare Bill has some good news for animals – it introduces an underlying duty of care for those keeping animals, and the new “welfare” section provides new protection on psychological and environmental suffering.

"But the section on circus animals is a disaster. Not only has the Government ignored the wealth of evidence on circus animal suffering that ADI has presented, but further, the proposal for licensing is ill-thought through and ill-informed.

"Almost everything on the video would remain legal, leaving circus animals vulnerable.”

A new opinion poll (released today 9th November) shows overwhelming public support for a ban on the use of animals in circuses
- 63% think that animal circuses should be banned
- 80% think that trainers should be banned from hitting animals.

Over 200 local authorities in the UK have already banned animal circuses from their land - yet such bans are often circumvented by circuses renting from local landowners, even setting up on supermarket car parks.

The new video will be sent to every MP along with a new report published today. Copies will also be sent to campaigners all over the country in order for them to lobby their MPs in what ADI hope will be the biggest push ever to get animal circuses outlawed in the UK.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

Broadcast quality footage (BETA format rushes available) and high quality photographs to support stories - including undercover footage.

Interviews (studio, ISDN or telephone) with ADI chief executive Jan Creamer and campaigns director Tim Phillips.

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