ADI calls on Herefordshire Country Fair organisers to cancel controversial Chipperfield show
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on organisers of the Herefordshire Country Fair to cancel a controversial lion show taking place at its annual event in Caradoc on Sunday 2 August. Please join us!
Four year old lions Assegai and Tsavo are set to appear in a total of four performances at the Fair and will be on display all day. The lions 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, Chipperfield took the animals to spend the cold winter months on the Scottish coast. He is now attempting a series of solo animal shows, the first of which was denied a licence by local authorities in Scotland. ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ is taking place in Powys, Wales from today, and has already attracted negative publicity and an outcry from animal groups and members of the public.
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 and described by wildlife vet Simon Adams as “an essential behavioural drive”. In their confined travelling circus living quarters, stated by Mr Adams describes as “unsuitable”, the Chipperfield tigers live in close proximity to one another and alongside lions, who they would not encounter in the wild.
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The British public is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of performing wild animals, and their distaste for this outdated form of entertainment is reflected by consistently high support for a wild animal circus ban.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 the Government is committed to prohibiting wild animal acts nationwide, for which legislation has already been drafted, with Wales seeking to be included in the new law. Scotland will soon announce its plans following a public consultation which revealed last week that 98% of respondents support a ban. To expedite the circus ban legislation, Jim Fitzpatrick MP has introduced an Early Day Motion, which has secured cross-party support since being tabled last week.
These Victorian attractions serve no educational or conservation purpose and consigning these incredible animals to a life of confinement and performance in this day and age is tragic to see.
Please take action today and join ADI in opposing these archaic acts!