Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

“End of an era” as Irish circus says goodbye to its big cat acts

Posted: 24 June 2013. Updated: 27 June 2014

In what has been described as “The end of an era”, the owner of Duffy’s Circus has announced that lions and tigers will not be performing with the circus for the rest of the season, and are unlikely to do so in the future.

The news has been welcomed by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), who are campaigning for the end of all wild animals in circuses in Ireland.

Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of ADI: “The end of an era of circus suffering is in sight for Ireland. ADI is delighted to see that people are no longer happy to see wild animals in circuses, and that circuses are adapting to changing times by dropping their wild animal acts. The tide is turning and the public are voting with their feet and choosing to support better, animal-free acts.”

John Carmody, Campaigns Director of ARAN: “The public are voting with their feet in bigger numbers than ever before, vowing never to support any Irish circus that uses animals, for the very real reason of animal suffering. Circuses here have a perfect opportunity to revamp what is essentially a dying industry, the future is clearly an animal-act free circus industry. ARAN would encourage Irish circuses who are left standing to plan ahead and cease using animals in their shows, it’s not before their time and it’s for mighty good reason.”

The big cats that performed with Duffy’s Circus were owned and trained by the Chipperfield family, who have presented the act for the past 25 years and who have left the circus “for personal reasons”.

In an interview with RTE Radio 1, circus owner David Duffy admitted that big cats were dangerous and that “one wrong move…can be fatal” and also acknowledged the dangers of domestic acts too. This is borne out by ADI and ARAN’s own findings.

Duffy’s Circus, which tour Ireland and Northern Ireland, perform with zebra, llamas, horses, ponies and donkeys, in addition to their new animal acts. Courtney Brothers is now the only circus featuring big cats, with tigers shipped in from the Great British Circus who are not on tour this year and the owner of which is rumoured to have retired.

Over 21 countries around the world have now prohibited either all animals in circuses or wild animals and several more are working on legislation. In Ireland, the issue is of increasing importance to local authorities, with motions to ban wild animal acts passed in Monaghan, Drogheda, Waterford and Wicklow in 2012 alone.


Media contacts:
Angie Greenaway
Animal Defenders International
Tel: 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

John Carmody
Animal Rights Action Network
Tel: +353 (0)87-2391646

National restrictions on performing animals in traveling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 21 countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Peru, Singapore, Sweden and Taiwan.

Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

ARAN are Ireland’s national animal rights group, who campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse, and work to promote a cruelty-free lifestyle.

© Animal Defenders International 2019