Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Ten years since the conviction of Mary Chipperfield on animal cruelty charges.

Posted: 27 January 2009

Today marks the ten year anniversary since one of the world’s most famous circus trainers, Mary Chipperfield, was convicted of animal cruelty after being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a baby chimpanzee and her husband was convicted of elephant abuse.

However, in the last decade, nothing has changed to prevent animals being toured around the UK in travelling circuses, despite a Government promise in 2006 that wild animals would be banned from circuses. This has not materialised, and a parliamentary petition criticising a Circus Working Group report has attracted 183 MP signatures.

The Mary Chipperfield trial remains the defining legal case in circus campaigning. She was convicted on 12 counts of animal cruelty towards 18-month old chimp Trudy. Her husband, Roger Cawley, was also convicted of cruelty to a sick elephant named Flora. Footage of the animal abuse sent shockwaves around the world and 400 video tapes of undercover footage filmed by ADI were handed over to the trial.

Mary Chipperfield was not banned from keeping or training animals, despite famously declaring at her trial; “I don’t regret anything. I haven’t done anything abusive to harm any of my animals.” In recent years she was filmed by undercover ADI field officers at a European circus with a group of white tigers she trained.

The couple were acquitted on 28 other charges, as whipping animals, chaining them up, depriving them of water and failing to provide basic hygiene, did not come under the legal definition of cruelty at that time. The investigation and trial showed that not only did the circus industry consider violence towards animals to be acceptable, but that the law could not protect animals in the entertainment industry.

The pair were fined a total of £8,500 plus costs. After a major media campaign, Trudy was re-homed to the Monkey World sanctuary in Dorset. Two of the elephants previously owned by the couple are now living at Colchester Zoo.

ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, says “The conviction of the renowned circus owner Mary Chipperfield for animal cruelty blew the image of the circus industry to pieces. But ten years on, there is no greater protection for circus animals. Does anyone really believe it is acceptable in the 21st century to keep elephants in chains, or lions and tigers in tiny cages on the back of a lorry? The majority of the British public has backed a ban on wild animals in circuses for more than a decade. Three years ago we were promised one. Enough is enough, it’s time the suffering stopped.”

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

For further information, contact ADI Public Relations Officer, Ally MacDonald
Tel: 020 7630 3344
Out of Hours Mobile: 07785 552548
Email: pr@ad-international.org

The scientific report ‘Animals in Travelling Circuses: The Science on Suffering’ can be downloaded here: http://www.ad-international.org/admin/downloads/SCS_US_rep_FINAL_Jun%2015%2008_LOW%20RES.pdf

The full-length video of Stop Circus Suffering – UK is available here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVsuGOpvUxc&feature=PlayList&p=B9BB7235F3CF0235&index=1

Findings from an ADI Mori Poll in the UK in 2005 include:
80% say ban all wild animal circus acts and 65% say ban all animal circus acts.
90% against whipping and beating when training circus animals.

Colchester Zoo elephants
Elephant keeper Steve Gills, who was employed at Chipperfield Farm as a “beastman", was jailed for four months in 1998 for cruelty towards elephants Rhanee, Tembo, Opal and Rosa. Elephants involved in the case, Tembo, Rosa and Opal were sold to Colchester Zoo before the case came to court. Tembo and Rosa had a calf together, born on 15th March, 2004 named Jambo. Tembo has now sired four calves . Rosa died in November 2007, after being put to sleep because of serious health problems. Opal continues to reside at the zoo and acts as an ‘aunt’ to Tembo’s calves. Photographs of Tembo, Opal and Rosa are available from ADI PR Office.

Rhanee the elephant
Another of the elephants abused by the Chipperfield elephant keeper Steve Gills. Despite ADI efforts to relocate her to an elephant sanctuary, she was taken first to Valwo Zoo in Spain, and is now living in Wroclaw Zoo in Poland. Photos are available from the ADI PR Office.

Flora the elephant
The elephant Flora who was the subject of a count of cruelty in the conviction of Roger Cawley was originally sold to Dudley Zoo. In 2003, she was transferred to Planet Sauvage, a zoo in Nantes, France.

Monkeyworld chimpanzee
Chimpanzee Trudy was seized under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) in April 1998 and taken to Monkey World in Dorset. The Cawleys’ defence put in a claim for the return of Trudy, but a huge public outcry ensured that she remained at the sanctuary. Trudy is now integrated into a mixed group of twenty chimpanzees.

Mary Chipperfield
Mary Chipperfield was filmed by undercover ADI field officers in late 2006 in Portugal at a circus featuring four tigers she had originally trained. Photographs are available from ADI PR Office. The story is available here: http://www.ad-international.org/media_centre/go.php?id=687&si=12

NOTES FOR EDITORS

For further information, contact ADI Public Relations Officer, Ally MacDonald
Tel: 020 7630 3344
Out of Hours Mobile: 07785 552548
Email: pr@ad-international.org

The scientific report ‘Animals in Travelling Circuses: The Science on Suffering’ can be downloaded here: http://www.ad-international.org/admin/downloads/SCS_US_rep_FINAL_Jun%2015%2008_LOW%20RES.pdf

The full-length video of Stop Circus Suffering – UK is available here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVsuGOpvUxc&feature=PlayList&p=B9BB7235F3CF0235&index=1

Findings from an ADI Mori Poll in the UK in 2005 include:
80% say ban all wild animal circus acts and 65% say ban all animal circus acts.
90% against whipping and beating when training circus animals.

Colchester Zoo elephants
Elephant keeper Steve Gills, who was employed at Chipperfield Farm as a “beastman", was jailed for four months in 1998 for cruelty towards elephants Rhanee, Tembo, Opal and Rosa. Elephants involved in the case, Tembo, Rosa and Opal were sold to Colchester Zoo before the case came to court. Tembo and Rosa had a calf together, born on 15th March, 2004 named Jambo. Tembo has now sired four calves . Rosa died in November 2007, after being put to sleep because of serious health problems. Opal continues to reside at the zoo and acts as an ‘aunt’ to Tembo’s calves. Photographs of Tembo, Opal and Rosa are available from ADI PR Office.

Rhanee the elephant
Another of the elephants abused by the Chipperfield elephant keeper Steve Gills. Despite ADI efforts to relocate her to an elephant sanctuary, she was taken first to Valwo Zoo in Spain, and is now living in Wroclaw Zoo in Poland. Photos are available from the ADI PR Office.

Flora the elephant
The elephant Flora who was the subject of a count of cruelty in the conviction of Roger Cawley was originally sold to Dudley Zoo. In 2003, she was transferred to Planet Sauvage, a zoo in Nantes, France.

Monkeyworld chimpanzee
Chimpanzee Trudy was seized under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) in April 1998 and taken to Monkey World in Dorset. The Cawleys’ defence put in a claim for the return of Trudy, but a huge public outcry ensured that she remained at the sanctuary. Trudy is now integrated into a mixed group of twenty chimpanzees.

Mary Chipperfield
Mary Chipperfield was filmed by undercover ADI field officers in late 2006 in Portugal at a circus featuring four tigers she had originally trained. Photographs are available from ADI PR Office. The story is available here: http://www.ad-international.org/media_centre/go.php?id=687&si=12

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