Controversial lion and tiger show lands in hot water at Penrhyn Bay

ADI Press Release:

ADI PETITION URGES LANDOWNER TO CANCEL BIG CAT ACT

A controversial big cat show that was cancelled from Herefordshire now has its sights on Penrhyn Bay, but has met with opposition from Animal Defenders International (ADI) and members of the public. The landowner is being urged to cancel the ‘Victorian’ form of entertainment which is opposed overwhelmingly by the British public, and a new Care2 petition has been launched by ADI against the circus-style act.

A performance in Herefordshire was cancelled after attracting 12,000 supporters for a previous petition spearheaded by ADI. A recent petition against the show’s appearance in Wrexham closed with over 54,000 signatures. ‘An Evening With Lions And Tigers’ is scheduled to take place in Penrhyn Bay this evening until Sunday 9 August.

View the petition here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/509/801/850/oppose-chipperfield-lion-and-tiger-circus-show/

ADI President Jan Creamer said “Consigning these incredible animals to a life of confinement and performance in this day and age is tragic to see. These Victorian attractions serve no educational or conservation purpose and cause animals to suffer. Please join ADI in calling on the landowner not to allow this archaic animal act to set up in Penrhyn Bay – sign our petition today.”

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.

Chipperfield is now attempting a series of solo animal shows – the first was denied a licence by local authorities in Scotland, and a show in Herefordshire was cancelled after ADI raised concerns, with a petition attracting 12,000 signatures in just four days. ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ has just finished in Wrexham, following from shows in Welshpool. The performances have sparked an outcry from animal organisations and members of the public, and attracted negative publicity, low audiences and disappointment from local MP Glyn Davies.

Footage emerged earlier this month 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 last month that 98% of respondents support a ban.

To expedite the circus ban legislation, Jim Fitzpatrick MP has introduced Early Day Motion 192, which has secured cross-party support since being tabled.

Log your ‘hog on The BIG Hedgehog Map – a new Hedgehog Street initiative

A third of our hedgehogs have been lost in the UK in the last ten years and now over 34,000 volunteers are helping to stem the decline. But as Hedgehog Street, a national campaign led by British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), enters its fourth year, the charities are calling on more people to help their efforts by launching The BIG Hedgehog Map online where people can record their sightings of hedgehogs (dead or alive) and pledge to make a hole in their garden fence.

There are about half a million hectares of garden in the UK, a vast potential resource for hedgehogs.  A simple action such as creating a small hole the size of a CD case in shared garden boundaries removes physical barriers for hedgehogs, which typically travel about a mile each night in order to gather food and search for a mate.

Fay Vass, CEO of BHPS says: “To reverse the decline of hedgehogs we need to know where they are, and we need to maintain their living spaces. Please help by telling us when you see hedgehogs and make small holes in your garden fences to create hedgehog highways all across the country. By acting together we can really benefit the species.”

Achievements since the launch of Hedgehog Street in 2011 include:

  • 6,622 gardens linked
  • 3,929 hedgehog homes created
  • 7,243 natural feeding areas established
  • 4,776 hazards such as poisonous slug pellets removed
  • A Gold medal and People’s Choice award for the Hedgehog Street summer garden designed by Tracy Foster at the 2014 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

To record your hedgehog sighting on The BIG Hedgehog Map and make your pledge to create a hole for hogs visit www.hedgehogstreet.org

More hedgehog advice and tips can be found on www.hedgehogstreet.org or by visiting upcoming events around the country:-          Hedgehog Street garden at WI Centennial Fair, Harrogate International Centre, North Yorkshire, 3-6 September

–          Hedgehog Street garden at RHS Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire from 24 October

–          Hedgehog-themed Wild About Gardens Week with the RHS and Wildlife Trusts, nationwide, 24 October to 1 November

–          Hedgehog Street: The Day of the Hedgehog, Telford, Shropshire, 21 November.