England's Chipperfields' Circus Will be Animal Free

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England's Chipperfields' Circus Will be Animal Free

From Animal Defenders International (ADI)

Also visit Stop Circus Suffering USA

If even Chipperfields' Circus see it is time to go animal-free, surely it is time for the Government to acknowledge that a ban on wild animal acts is now almost five years overdue."

The circus name that became synonymous with animal cruelty has gone animal free, says Animal Defenders International.

What a difference a decade has made.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has learnt that at long last, Chipperfields' Circus will be animal free when it appears in Cambridge this month (October 2010).

It is the first time that the circus has appeared in the UK since being exposed by ADI in 1998. Between 1996 and 1998, ADI field officers worked undercover inside three circus establishments run by different members of the Chipperfield family: Chipperfields' circus as it toured with animals owned by Dicky Chipperfield; Chipperfield Enterprises the Oxfordshire lion and tiger breeding centre owned by Dicky Chipperfield; and Mary Chipperfield Promotions, the huge training and animal dealing operation run by Mary Chipperfield in Hampshire.

The investigation released as the Ugliest Show on Earth is credited with bringing the UK's animal circus industry to its knees. The investigation also featured several other UK circuses and within six months of its release half of the UK's animal circuses had closed.

This investigation led to successful convictions for cruelty to animals of Mary Chipperfield and her husband Roger, jail for their elephant keeper Michael Gills, and subsequent closure of all three circus enterprises in the UK. Chipperfield Enterprises and Mary Chipperfield Promotions closed down.

Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director for ADI said: "Just over a decade ago, I was working undercover looking after lions and tigers at Chipperfield Enterprises in Oxfordshire that were living in deplorable conditions. Our ADI team also went undercover at Chipperfield's Classic Circus as it toured southern England and at Mary Chipperfield Promotions in Hampshire. We exposed confinement and suffering at all three and the physical abuse we recorded shocked a nation.

"I never thought we would be able to say to people go and visit a Chipperfields' circus. I have to say that I am a little surprised, but happy, and this decision really proves that circuses can go animal free.

This is a real sign of the times. I hope the Government who are currently preparing an announcement on whether or not to ban wild animals in circuses are taking note.

"Animal suffering in UK circuses is not yet a thing of the past. Last year we filmed sickening abuse and chaining of the elephants with the Great British Circus as it toured the UK. It was horribly reminiscent of that investigation a decade earlier and confirmed that little had changed behind these scenes in the ensuing years. There are less animal circuses but the suffering goes on. It is vital that the Government acts."

The Coalition Government have promised an announcement this autumn on a ban on wild animal acts and 134 MPs have now signed EDM 403 'Wild Animals in circuses' since July 2010, tabled by the former Defra Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP, calling for the wild animal ban to finally be implemented.

Tim said: "If even Chipperfields' Circus see it is time to go animal-free, surely it is time for the Government to acknowledge that a ban on wild animal acts is now almost five years overdue."

The Chipperfield name is leased out by Dicky Chipperfield, Mary's cousin, and the new 'Chipperfields' All Human Circus' will be based at Cambridge, Midsummer Common, 22-31 October 2010.

There are still several members of the Chipperfield family involved with performing animals.