ADI calls for Chipperfield big cat show to be cancelled
Help ADI oppose ‘An Evening With Lions And Tigers’ in Wales – sign and share our petition urging landowners to cancel the circus-style act, currently performing in Porthmadog.
A performance in Herefordshire was cancelled after an ADI petition attracted 12,000 signatures and a recent petition against the show’s appearance in Wrexham closed with over 54,000 signatures. To date the show has appeared in Welshpool, Wrexham, Penrhyn Bay and Caernarfon.
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 owner is circus trainer Thomas Chipperfield, 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.
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.
The first of Chipperfield’s solo animal shows was denied a licence by local authorities in Scotland, and the performances in Wales have sparked an outcry from animal organisations and members of the public, and attracted negative publicity, low audiences and opposition from local councillors and MPs.
Footage recently emerged of lion Tsavo taking a swipe at Chipperfield when the trainer leaned in for a kiss during one of the performances. Worryingly, the show director is reported as stating that such incidents “happen all the time”.
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.
Voicing his concern at the environment the animals are forced to endure, wildlife vet Simon Adams said “the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats” and the ability to be able to patrol their huge natural territories is “an essential behavioural drive”.
ADI has documented the Chipperfield cats exhibiting abnormal, repetitive behaviour not witnessed in the wild but commonly seen in performing animals. Their unnatural behaviour has been described by vet Marc Abraham as “a sure sign their welfare is severely compromised”.
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 2013 YouGov poll found, with regard to the use of lions and tigers, 78% and 79% believed these animals should not be used in circuses.
Over 200 local councils have banned animal circuses from public land and a commitment has been made to prohibit wild animal acts in England and Wales, for which national legislation has already been drafted. Scotland will soon announce its plans, following a public consultation which revealed that 98% of respondents support a ban.
- Sign our petition against ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ in Wales and attend local protests
- 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