Thomas Chipperfield is swiped at by big cat during first controversial show
Footage has emerged of one of Thomas Chipperfield’s lions taking a swipe at the circus trainer during his first ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ show in Wales. The incident clearly demonstrates these incredible big cats do not want to be subjugated; even when bred in captivity, lions retain all their wild instincts.
The performance opens tonight at its second stop in Wrexham, despite overwhelming opposition and planned protests. Animal Defenders International (ADI) launched a Care2 petition against the ‘Victorian’ circus-style performance, which has amassed almost 50,000 signatures of support in the last week. Wrexham resident Emma Hughes has said that she is “ashamed that our town and council is allowing the event”.
The one-man animal show ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ was denied a licence by local authorities in Scotland and cancelled from an event in Herefordshire after ADI raised concerns, with a petition attracting 12,000 signatures in just four days. Opening on July 3, the Welshpool show has attracted negative publicity and low audiences, with MP Glyn Davies expressing his disappointment that the show was being held in his constituency.
A postponed feature on the act was broadcast by BBC One’s The One Show earlier this week, despite criticism from ADI and members of the public. Guest and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden voiced her concerns in the studio, saying “….I’m not sure about the message that it sends out….species aren’t there for our entertainment and it worries me that it just kind of perpetuates that view… it just makes me feel uncomfortable.”
The event is promoted as “educational”, however presenter and journalist Dom Littlewood, who presented The One Show feature and saw the show questioned its value, stating “I personally don’t think there is much they would learn from that show.”
Statements attributed to the show director appear to reveal a concerning lack of basic knowledge about the animals. Anthony Beckwith attempted to explain the incident, saying “We have a lioness who is in season and the male lions try to assert their dominance over her.” However, there are only two lions in the show who are both male. Worryingly, he is reported as stating that such incidents “happen all the time”.
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 lives 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.
This archaic act has no educational value and causes animal suffering. It is high time to ban wild animal acts!
- Sign our petition against ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ in Wrexham and attend local protests being held at each performance
- 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