The largest wild animal circus in the UK is selling off its animals.
Martin Lacey, owner of the Great British Circus told Horse and Hound magazine that he plans to go animal free.
Jan Creamer, President of ADI said: “We have shown incidents of animal cruelty and suffering at the Great British Circus on a number of occasions, so we are pleased that animals will no longer suffer in this circus. We welcome the news that the circus is to go animal free – businesses can continue successfully with just human performers and there are many shows that do that. We can only hope that this provides an incentive for the Government to bring in a ban, while there are so few wild animals in UK circuses. The public and parliament both want it, and it would draw a line under this archaic use of animals once and for all.”
In 2009, ADI secured video footage of the elephants touring with the Great British Circus being viciously abused behind the scenes, by a worker and presenter. ADI also revealed how the circus had presented Parliament with claims that they did not chain elephants, yet continuous video evidence showed elephants chained every day, for up to 11 hours.
A previous investigation of the circus (then known as Circus Harlequin), filmed tigers being beaten and screamed at, a lioness being smashed in the mouth by a tent pole, and a seriously injured lioness being concealed during a welfare inspection.
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- Read our response to calls for the animals to be purchased here
Mr Lacey’s group of four Friesians, a zebra and two other horses that perform a “little and large” act are advertised for sale in Horse and Hound. Mr Lacey said four other zebras had gone to a private collector along with some camels.
A Great British Circus worker recently informed an ADI investigator that the tigers currently with the circus are to be sold to an Italian Circus, although this has yet to be confirmed
Several other major British circuses once known for wild animal acts have become animal-free shows, including Gerry Cottle’s Circus (currently touring) and Chipperfield’s Circus.
Jan Creamer: “It’s very sad that Mr Lacey has not shown compassion and retired his tigers, who have earned so much money for him, and suffered an arduous, deprived life in the travelling circus. We would certainly help with rehoming as we have done with many circus animals. This just underscores the point that these animals are not family, they are tools and now they are no longer needed, they are being sold on.”
ADI currently has in its care 31 lions rescued from circuses.
- Read more about our investigation of the Great British Circus here.