Stop Circus Suffering

Chipperfield big cat act makes ‘dragon’ Deborah Meaden “feel uncomfortable”

Purported educational value of show also called into question by presenter Dom Littlewood

Despite requests from ADI and many of our supporters, disappointingly, BBC1’s The One Show aired a feature on big cat circus trainer Thomas Chipperfield on 14th July 2015. The item had been scheduled for the previous week but had been postponed due to the concerns raised.

ADI had advised BBC producers that it would be “regressive and irresponsible of The One Show to promote what is seen as an unacceptable and outdated practice” and urged them to promote a more appropriate form of entertainment that does not harm animals and can be enjoyed by all.

Viewers however did get to see the conditions that the animals are forced to endure, confined to cages on the back of a truck which Mr Chipperfield boasts “exceeds minimum requirements”. They also saw the animals pacing back and forth, exhibiting an unnatural behaviour commonly seen in performing animals, but not in the wild, which can indicate the animal’s welfare is compromised.

Mr Chipperfield refutes that the show is a circus act because “circuses are artistic” but it is indeed a circus in all but name. On the facebook page for ’An Evening with Lions and Tigers’ it states it is “a new initiative take on wild animal training bringing the art form into the 21st century”.

Back in the studio, on The One Show couch, businesswoman Deborah Meaden – best known as one of the ‘dragons’ from Dragons’ Den – was asked her view and she said: “fundamentally I like my wild animals wild, but they were born in captivity, but I’m not sure about the message that it sends out, you know that we kind of dominate species. Well species aren’t there for our entertainment and it worries me that it just kind of perpetuates that view that we can just pick them up, we can make them do what we want them to do, you know…… it just makes me feel uncomfortable.”

Presenter and journalist Dom Littlewood, who presented the feature and saw the show summed up by statingI personally don’t think there is much they would learn from that show.

‘An evening with lions and tigers’ and similar performances cause animals to suffer and have no educational or conservation value. Please help ADI campaign for an end to the use of animals in entertainment.

Take action!

  • Watch the feature (from 02:20)
  • If you agree that the BBC should not have promoted this show, make a complaint
  • Sign our petition against ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ in Wrexham
  • Urge your MP to sign EDM 192 which calls for the circus ban to be swiftly passed – you can find out who your MP is and contact them here
  • Make a donation and help us expose the suffering of animals in entertainment


  1. Sue Andrews · 15 July 2015 at 5:19a

    Lions have no place in circuses or small cages, this is just wrong.

  2. Lindsey mcbride · 15 July 2015 at 5:19a

    By featuring this vile animal cruelty, these presenters had an opportunity to help put an end to cruel captivity. Sadly, they didn’t do much with the opportunity. Being passive while others suffer is being complicit.

  3. Antonio Brito · 15 July 2015 at 5:19a

    Animal aren’t ours to be abused. They exist for their only reason. I do not suport any kind of slavery!

Leave a comment on this story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.