Thousands oppose planned appearance of circus act featuring lions and tigers in Wrexham
‘An Evening With Lions And Tigers’, the controversial big cat show cancelled from the Herefordshire Country Fair and presented by circus trainer Thomas Chipperfield, is next scheduled to appear in Wrexham, Wales, from Friday 17 July. Animal Defenders International (ADI) and local residents have united in calling on the landowner to cancel the ‘Victorian’ form of entertainment, with an ADI petition against the act amassing over 15,000 signatures of support in just 5 days. (This petition is now closed, securing over 54,000 signatures in one week.)
Thomas Chipperfield is 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. He has two lions (Assegai and Tsavo) and three tigers (Nadia, Altai and Syas) who live in cages on the back of a truck known as a ‘beastwagon’.
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 an appearance at the Herefordshire Country Fair was cancelled after ADI raised concerns, with a petition attracting 12,000 signatures in just four days! The first appearance of the big cat show in Welshpool sparked an outcry from animal organisations and members of the public, attracting negative publicity and low audiences. Glyn Davies MP 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.
It is a wholly unnatural environment for these animals and ADI has documented the big cats exhibiting abnormal, repetitive behaviour not witnessed in the wild but commonly seen in performing animals indicating compromised welfare.
Consigning these incredible animals to a life of confinement and performance is tragic to see. These Victorian attractions serve no educational or conservation purpose and cause animals to suffer, with local residents rightly “ashamed” that they are allowed to take place.
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 commitment has been made to prohibit wild animal acts in England and Wales, for which national legislation has already been drafted.
Please join ADI in calling on the landowner not to allow this archaic animal act
- Sign and share our petition calling for the big cat show to be cancelled
- Urge your MP to sign EDM 192 which calls the circus ban to be swiftly passed – you can find out how your MP is and contact them here
- Make a donation and help ADI expose circus suffering and campaign for change