Kids’ charity demands withdrawal of name from big cat circus show


A CHILDREN’S charity has demanded its name be withdrawn from a show involving the UK’s last circus big cats.

The only remaining lion tamer in Britain, Thomas Chipperfield, keeps two lions and three tigers in cages on a croft in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.

The creatures are to be the stars of a show next month which will be held on the site of a former air base.

Posters have been put up in nearby villages advertising ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ with tickets costing £6 for adults and £4 for children.

The posters state the event is “supporting” major charity Cash For Kids, which raised £15.7m across the UK last year.

But charity chiefs said they knew nothing about it and have told the lion tamer to remove their name.

Video taken at the croft by Animal Defenders International shows, they say, evidence of pacing and what appear to be cramped conditions. The local council have, however, given the facilities their approval.
Video taken at the croft by Animal Defenders International shows, they say, evidence of pacing and what appear to be cramped conditions. The local council have, however, given the facilities their approval.


A spokeswoman for the charity said: “Cash for Kids is not involved with any circus acts. We’re not doing any fundraisers with any circus acts.”

Speaking about the name being on the posters she said: “We’ve asked him to remove it.”

Animal rights campaigners said they are “extremely pleased” the charity have distanced themselves from the show and are calling for the public to do the same.

“I thought they were simply using the good name of the charity to attract people in,” said John Robins of Animal Concern.

“Kids know more than anyone else that it is wrong to have these animals in shows.

“These lions and tigers should be going to a sanctuary instead of being forced to perform demeaning tricks at an old air base.

“After a winter caged up in tiny cages on a croft they are now going to be caged up in tiny cages on a beast wagon.”

The name of Cash For Kids clearly appears on this poster. The charity has demanded it be withdrawn.
The name of Cash For Kids clearly appears on this poster. The charity has demanded it be withdrawn.


He added: “This is 2015 yet we allow animals to suffer in much the same way their predecessors suffered when Victoria was Queen.”

During the performance the lions and tigers, which each weigh around 400lbs, will perform “training displays” and people will be able to watch them during “feeding time” at Crimond Airfield,

Activists claim the show is a “distasteful, outdated performance” and have urged the local council to investigate its legality.

In the 1950s, Thomas Chipperfield’s family owned the biggest circus in Europe with a herd of 16 elephants and more than 200 other animals from polar bears to chimps and giraffes.

Now he is now the last lion tamer in the UK and coming under increasing pressure from animal rights groups.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) secretly filmed the big cats in cages on the Aberdeenshire croft over the winter.

The video shows the cats in what appear to be cramped conditions and pacing.

They insist the animals native to Asia and Africa suffer in cold weather and “unnatural environment” of the east coast of Scotland.

Commenting on the show an ADI spokeswoman said: “The lions and tigers made to perform for this act are denied a natural life and live a pitiful existence in cages on the back of a truck.

“ADI has exposed the suffering these animals endure, which has been condemned by welfare experts.

“Please avoid this distasteful, outdated performance and urge your friends and family to do so too.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said a vet and two officers had visited Mr Chipperfield’s premises and were satisfied with the wellbeing and security of the animals.

Cash For Kids issued a second statement.
A spokeswoman for the charity said: “We were recently made aware of some serious allegations concerning an event organised to raise money for our charity.
“We had seen nothing to suggest that these allegations were true but we spoke to the Scottish SPCA to investigate further.
“They confirmed that there’s no evidence to support these claims so, whilst we won’t be involved with this event, we are hoping to speak to the organisers about how best we can support any events that they have planned for the future.”
Thomas Chipperfield said: “It’s one of those regrettable circumstances where animal rights groups have used intimidation tactics to get their way and get the charity to decline our offer to support them.
“We have found an alternative charity – we are going to be keeping them anonymous so they don’t get the treatment Cash For Kids did.”
He continued: “We don’t ever fail inspections – if that were the case we’d have the animals taken off as and we haven’t.”
He said as the animal rights groups have not offered any expert of veterinary reports to back up their claims: “There stance is not scientific, it’s purely ideological.”


  1. I’m dismayed by the second statement issued by the charity. While inspections may prove that no law is broken the standard required to keep within the law falls far short of what these animals actually deserve or need to thrive. While country after country bans the use of wild animals in circuses, (and this situation is no different from a circus), the UK still reneges on it’s promise to do the same. To
    fiinancially benefit at the detriment of innocent animals would be shameful, I urge Cash 4 kids to check out the concerns raised by animal welfare organisations, whose only motivation is animal welfare, and then think about the motivation of the presenters of the show, money!

  2. I think Mr Chipperfield should consider a career in politics when the ban on wild animals performing in circuses is finally implemented he is so good at spin. Many countries around the world and several American states have now banned this outdated practice and yet Scotland is still allowing this cruelty. The animals being seized from these now illegal circuses are being rehabilitated and moved to sanctuaries where they can live out a more natural existence. Species around the world are under severe threat of extinction within our lifetimes and yet we are still using them for this so called entertainment.

  3. Sorry Carol but you’re gettting mixed up. What the animals deserve is a dogma from the AR sect that are manipulating you . What they need to thrive is to stay exactly where they are. Circus big cats have TWICE the life expectancy

    • Stars of the show they may be, but elephants, lions and tigers are the wild animals least suited to life in a circus, concludes the first global study of animal welfare in circuses.

      “It’s no one single factor,” says Stephen Harris of the University of Bristol, UK, and lead researcher of the study. “Whether it’s lack of space and exercise, or lack of social contact, all factors combined show it’s a poor quality of life compared with the wild,” he says.

      The survey concludes that on average, wild animals spend just 1 to 9 per cent of their time training, and the rest confined to cages, wagons or enclosures typically covering a quarter the area recommended for zoos.

      Worst affected are elephants, lions, tigers and bears. Often they’re confined to cages where they pace up and down for hours on end.

      “Even if they are in a larger, circus pen, there’s no enrichment such as logs to play with, in case they use them to break the fence and escape,” says Harris.

    • Do not be ridiculous! Wild animals belong in the wild, where they are meant to be and not in the circuses, “entertaining” morons.What is the use of a long life, if it is a life full of pain and suffering, confined in a small cage? How would you like to live to 100+, locked up in a small cage?

  4. Whilst I don’t know the background to this Evening with the Big Cats, I can only presume that the organisers must of had some permission from the charity to use their name in the first place and I am now guessing that after the ADI group became aware, the charity have bowed to their pressure.
    I find John Robins of Animal Concern’s comment “Kids know more than anyone else that it is wrong to have these animals in shows’ very interesting. It is his personal opinion that todays kids know this is wrong. Todays kids in Scotland haven’t had the chance to see such a show for a number of years, so perhaps they should of been able to see it, as to make their own mind up, rather than be brainwashed by animal rights groups.
    I fully support animal welfare and not animal rights! .
    ADI also claim to have filmed secretly the animals. What utter rubbish. The animals were on view daily for some weeks to the public, with training displays being given. I read that in the Daily Mirror. ADI simply walked in, as did the press and the public. Yet more money making spin by animal rights people.
    It is far better that these cats lead an active stimulated lifestyle rather than sat in some zoo or animal park doing nothing all day. These animals are fit, healthy and active. They are handled daily by people who know the animals and by people who care for and about animals.

    • Children do not need to witness something first hand to recognise it is wrong.
      I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed to animals having the right to a life free from harm, why would you be opposed to that?

  5. Have you actually seen them?
    There’s 5 of them stuck in individual
    cages the size of a prison cell
    on a lorry trailer most of the time.
    Then when they do get
    out its in am enclosed cage you’d
    fit maybe three small cars into
    Their pool is a bathtub and their
    only toy a large tyre, not very
    stimulating for them.
    If children
    want to see these animals they
    should go to a proper animal
    sanctuary, then they’ll learn
    more about them in a setting that’s
    better than where they are now
    As someone has already said the
    guy is very manipulative. For example
    he lost his dog three times in two weeks, after
    the second time he didn’t even bother to
    report his dog missing, a local lady had
    recognised it from the lost pages locally, she
    found the dog (staffie) wandering on the
    beach. It’s microchip wasn’t registered. For
    someone supposed to be responsible for lions &
    tigers, that’s not very reassuring. The dog also
    wanted to stay with her rather than its owner.
    He knows all the right things to say to try & convince
    people they’re happy animals., I’m no animal behaviour expert
    yet I could see they were pacing about looking
    distressed, swaying their heads from side to side
    repeatedly & very bored looking.
    As for living longer, would you want to live a long life
    imprisoned & entertain? Or would you rather
    be free to do whatever you want? Ask yourself that.
    This mam has mailed threats to some people who’ve
    spoken against him, you don’t see that side to
    him when he’s filling people’s heads with his idea of
    what these animals want, he works for a circus, he’s a
    trained performer, of course he’ll say what he’d want
    you to hear. He was also illegally taking “donations’ for
    these animals from visitors & he’d take a photo for them
    but only at a flattering angle to make their cage look
    bigger, even after the council stopped visitors he
    still allowed people to come. They were supposed to be
    resting over winter.
    As for not naming the charity he intended to donate to, in
    his case it more than likely would’ve been the kind of charity
    that begins at home, ie his pocket.
    Remember they’re traveller, I’ve nothing against travelling
    people but when other travellers came to Fraserburgh there
    was an uproar, maybe if they’d charged people to see
    animals it would be more acceptable?
    The sooner those animals are free to somewhere suitable
    the better.

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