Legendary actor calls on government to “end this circus madness”
Legendary actor Brian Blessed has urged the government to finally ban the use of wild animals in circuses as Animal Defenders International reveals that the only and much criticised big cat act will not be touring Britain this year.
Brian Blessed said “I am deeply opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses and have been working with Animal Defenders International to oppose such acts for many years. Despite repeated promises from the Government, we are still waiting for the law to pass and the animals are continuing to suffer. Please end this circus madness.”
Back in 2011, Brian made a similar plea following the shocking ADI exposé of Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant. He joined ADI and a delegation of MPs to present a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a ban. At the time he said, “now is the time for the government to legislate and put a stop, once and for all, to the draconian and humiliating spectacle of wild animals in circuses.”
Four years on and we are still waiting for a ban, although changing attitudes and greater awareness of how animals are kept, trained and treated, through investigations by ADI and others, has seen the number of wild animal circuses continue to fall. Just two now perform in Britain with such acts.
One act that has attracted widespread criticism and local protests is presented by Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI investigation. His lion and tiger act, the only one in Britain, featured in Peter Jolly’s Circus last year but ADI can reveal that it will not be touring with a circus this year. Despite this, the animals will likely remain in their temporary, confined living quarters.
Both whilst in the circus and at their present overwintering location in Scotland, ADI has documented how Chipperfield’s lions and tigers exhibit abnormal repetitive behaviour – not seen in the wild but commonly observed in circuses – indicating compromised welfare. On seeing the footage, vets Marc Abraham and Simon Adams had stated “Big cats are never meant to live like this” and “the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats”.
In response to the lack of progress made since the Government announced it would ban the use of wild animals in circuses in 2012, Jim Fitzpatrick MP introduced a Private Member’s Bill which despite having cross-party support has been blocked by Christchurch MP Christopher Chope on seven occasions. It will have its next second reading on Friday 27 February.
Please help us secure the ban that has been promised to the public and the animals.
- Contact William Hague MP, Leader of the House of Commons, and ask him to allocate parliamentary time to the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill.
- Contact Prime Minister David Cameronand ask him to fulfil the promise to end the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and ensure Parliamentary time is given to the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill.
- Contact your MP– in person if you possibly can! – remember they probably support the Bill, but we need their help: ask them to back the Bill and press the Government to allocate time for it; and ensure their party is committed to a ban in their manifestos
- Make a donation– ADI is securing lasting change for circus animals around the world, help us do more!
- Spread the word – share our posts on facebook and twitter #notgivingup #circusban