Big cat show cancelled after council refuses licence


A SHOW involving the UK’s last circus big cat show has been cancelled after council chiefs refused to give it the go ahead.


The UK’s only lion tamer Thomas Chipperfield – his big cat show has been cancelled.



Three tigers and two lions, which have spent the winter on a croft in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, were set to perform a show on a former air base on Monday.


The event has been at the centre of a huge row between animal rights activists who claim the show is a “distasteful, outdated performance” and the countries’ only lion tamer.


But just days before ‘An evening with lions and tigers’ was set to go ahead at Crimond Airfield the council refused to grant the entertainment licence.


Mr Chipperfield – will “push” to make the show go on.



Now lion tamer Thomas Chipperfield has said they will “push” to get the animals on show in Scotland.


“We are pursuing the possibility of getting the decision changed or will re apply for the license,” said Mr Chipperfield.


“We will push to show in the area. It’s very disappointing because people in the area have been so fantastic to us.”


Tickets for the show cost £6 for adults and £4 for children.


Animal rights activists have critisised the show, which they call “animal exploitation”.



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 the only circus big cats in the UK and is coming under increasing pressure from animal rights groups to put them into sanctuaries.


The big cats have spent the winter in captivity on a croft in Aberdeenshire.



“We haven’t been banned. It was simple time scale, red tape issues,” said event co-organiser Anthony Beckwith.


“We’re looking at the application process again. We definitely want to do something up here.”


A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council confirmed the a public entertainment licence was “not granted” on Friday by the licensing board.


The council’s decision was welcomed by animal rights activists.


John Robins of Animal Concern said: “It’s nice to get good news for a change.


“Now the Scottish Government must outlaw the use of animals in circuses and consign this type of animal exploitation to the history books where it belongs.”


Event co-ordinator Anthony Beckwith insisted “We haven’t been banned. It was simple time scale, red tape issues.”



The circus claimed on its posters that the event was supported by children’s charity Cash For Kids.


The charity at first claimed it had not given its approval and asked for its name to be withdrawn.


Cash For Kids has subsequently claimed it withdrew from the event under pressure from animal rights groups.