Wild animal circus - and protesters - heading to Shropshire

A circus which still uses wild animals will roll into the region this week - with Europe's youngest lion tamer in tow.

Anthony Beckwith with Kashmir the camel at Peter Jolly's Circus in Chirk
Anthony Beckwith with Kashmir the camel at Peter Jolly's Circus in Chirk

Thomas Chipperfield, 24, will perform as part of Peter Jolly's Circus in both Chirk and Oswestry - one of the few remaining circuses with live animals.

The performer, whose family have been involved in circus life for 300 years, is a major draw at the circus, which has set up camp at Chirk Airfield.

The circus is one of only a handful which still use wild animal acts and, ahead of a proposed ban next year, protestors have campaigned outside recent shows around the country.

Visitors will be able to make up their own minds over the controversy when the circus comes to the town from Wednesday next week.

Circus spokesman Anthony Beckwith said the shows at Chirk would continue until Sunday before the circus moves to Oswestry to a site near Maesbury Industrial Estate.

He said: "We have had a group of protestors from Liverpool following us around recently but most people who are not sure about the use of wild animals do enjoy the show, they think it is fantastic.

"We have an open door policy and people are more than welcome to come to see how we look after our animals."

He said Thomas Chipperfield had been with the circus since last year and has two lions and three tigers.

Mr Beckwith said the lion tamer was the first to come back to the UK since a new licensing system came into place.

He said: "Peter Jolly decided to reintroduce the lion-taming act to the circus. The licensing system is really strict and it has given us massive credibility.

"We must have four inspections from vets each year and then Defra, the government inspectors, inspect us three times a year.

"Everything involving the animals has to be documented and everything is strictly controlled.

"There has been a lot of bad press about circuses but any problems are called by individuals themselves, not the circus as a whole.

"Other circuses use domestic animals but we have wild animals. Hopefully people will come along and make up their own minds."

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Comments for: "Wild animal circus - and protesters - heading to Shropshire"

kain92

none of us protesters are from liverpool :L

kain92

oh and no they dont have a open door policy they wont let any of us protesters in to see the animals

Huntsab

'We have an open door policy' - Does that include training of your animals? I bet the answer is NO as this is where the cruelty in animal circuses starts. Boycott animal circuses they belong in the past, the sooner wild animals are banned the better.

Buzz

It may be cruel on the animals.but people are still paying to see the shows. If the protesters are turning up at every show surely this only some free advertising for the circus. Why do you not go out and get jobs and gift some of your wages to care for the animals once they are retired due to change in legislation..

carole.griffiths.90

Buzz, I have a full time job and I donate to human and animal charities, the very charities that have offered to help find ssanctuaries for circus animals after the ban. I also protest outside the circus, I finish work and then drive to the protest! And I'm not from Liverpool! People should stop making assumptions!

Huntsab

Why does Buzz think protestors are unemployed? As most performances start at 7.30pm people from all walks of life young and old go and protest. Maybe Buzz should go to a protest and see for himself or will he/she be sat in front of a TV/computer complaining about the world and doing nothing about it. As for giving some of their wages why should they its the circuses job to look after the animals upkeep once they have 'retired' from years of abuse at their hands.