Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Wrexham 'shamed' by lion and tiger show

Posted: 14 July 2015

A controversial big cat show that was cancelled from Herefordshire now has its sights on Wrexham, but has met with opposition from Animal Defenders International (ADI) and local residents. The landowner is being urged to cancel the ‘Victorian’ form of entertainment which is opposed overwhelmingly by the British public, and two petitions have been launched against the circus-style performance, amassing over 15,000 signatures of support in under a week. ‘An Evening With Lions And Tigers’ is currently scheduled to take place in Wrexham from Friday 17 July.

ADI President Jan Creamer said “Consigning these incredible animals to a life of confinement and performance in this day and age is tragic to see. These Victorian attractions serve no educational or conservation purpose and cause animals to suffer. Please join ADI in calling on the landowner not to allow this archaic animal act to set up in Wrexham – sign our petition today.”

Local resident Emma Hughes said “As a resident of Wrexham, I am ashamed that our town and council is allowing the event, ‘An evening with lions and tigers’, to take place. Today animal welfare is a huge concern to the public and that includes a large amount of people from Wrexham. The lions and tigers involved in the show are deprived of a quality of life and this is something that I, as well as many others from Wrexham, do not support and will not tolerate.”

Four year old lions Assegai and Tsavo live in cages alongside tigers Nadia, Altai and Syas on the back of a truck known as a ‘beastwagon’. Their owner is circus trainer Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield who was convicted for multiple counts of animal cruelty in the late 1990s following an investigation by ADI.

Chipperfield and his family toured with Duffy’s Circus in Ireland for many years before returning to Britain in 2013, where he presented a big cat act at Peter Jolly’s Circus – one of two circuses still performing with wild animals. After causing outrage across the UK with the return of big cats to a British circus, he took the cats to spend the cold winter months on the Scottish coast.

Chipperfield is now attempting a series of solo animal shows – the first was denied a licence by local authorities in Scotland, and a show in Herefordshire was cancelled after ADI raised concerns, with a petition attracting 12,000 signatures in just four days. ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ is currently taking place in Welshpool, sparking an outcry from animal organisations and members of the public, and attracting negative publicity and low audiences. Glyn Davies MP has also expressed his disappointment that the show was being held in his constituency.

The lives that the Chipperfield big cats endure are in stark contrast to those they would have in the wild. Given their solitary nature, in their natural environment tigers have limited contact with their own kind, roaming and defending a territory which can be as large as 470 km2. In their confined travelling circus living quarters, the Chipperfield tigers live in close proximity to one another and alongside lions, who they would not encounter in the wild.

Voicing his concern at the environment the animals are forced to endure, wildlife vet Simon Adams said “the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats” and the ability to be able to patrol their huge natural territories is “an essential behavioural drive”.

ADI has documented the Chipperfield cats exhibiting abnormal, repetitive behaviour not witnessed in the wild but commonly seen in performing animals. Their unnatural behaviour has been described by vet Marc Abraham as “a sure sign their welfare is severely compromised”.

The British public is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of performing wild animals, and their distaste for this outdated form of entertainment is reflected by consistently high support for a wild animal circus ban. A 2013 YouGov poll found, with regard to the use of lions and tigers, 78% and 79% believed these animals should not be used in circuses.

Over 200 local councils have banned animal circuses from public land and a commitment has been made to prohibit wild animal acts in England and Wales, for which national legislation has already been drafted. Scotland will soon announce its plans, following a public consultation which revealed last month that 98% of respondents support a ban.

To expedite the circus ban legislation, Jim Fitzpatrick MP has introduced Early Day Motion 192, which has secured cross-party support since being tabled.

Contact: Fleur Dawes 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

Animal Defenders International Care2 petition
Wrexham resident petition (now closed)

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