BY NIGEL BEAN (& PAUL READ)
I have a special favour to ask of you discerning Country Squire readers.
I would like you to put to one side any preconceived ideas you might have and read what really happened to the circuses in the U.K. This detail I shall spread across two articles – the first contains information the Labour Government under Tony Blair hoped you would never see. The second article concerns the complete annihilation of the arguments forwarded to ban wild animals in circuses on welfare and ethical grounds. This annihilation started last year by two of only three people to have conducted either in-depth or empirical peer-reviewed research into the welfare of circus animals.
As a taster for the second article, be clear that Lesley Griffiths, Rural & Environment Minister for Wales, was made fully aware of these experts’ intervention but kept it hidden from the Welsh Assembly, so the Assembly would only ever support her ban.
After reading this article if you feel as angry as me, please fill in the short online consultation by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. Please give the circus and their much loved and cared for wild animals your support and it would be greatly appreciated if you could then pass this article on to others.
Let’s start by asking if you have ever heard of Tom Rider in the USA?
He was a former employee of Ringling Brother’s circus who lied so a host of animal rights groups could smear his former employers through vexatious litigation. It turned out that while he was claiming psychological damage caused through the mistreatment of elephants during his employment at Ringling’s he was not damaged enough to refuse $190,000 dollars from animal rights groups. The courts found him to be nothing more than a paid plaintiff and the ASPCA, the American version of the RSPCA, were forced to pay $9.3 million in an out of court settlement for their part in manufactured litigation and racketeering against the Ringling Brother’s circus.
So you think that wouldn’t happen here?
Wrong! We gave the USA the idea for animal rights, they are only ever playing catch up.
It all started when Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips realised they would never make it rich being part of the youth branch of the anti-vivisection brigade, they had to find their own cause to make money and with new video technology the circus offered rich pickings. They formed Animal Defenders International (ADI) and teamed up with undercover camera man Terry Hill famous for stitching up Shamrock Farm. Their first attempt to discredit circuses by showing apparent cruelty was an abject failure. Naturally the left-wing BBC were only too happy to smear circuses and showed the footage without investigating the facts on a program called Here and Now. The Chipperfields were forced into the laborious task of clearing their name and collected witness statements to counter the fabrications broadcast by the BBC. In May 1997 the BSC ordered the BBC to broadcast the complaints made by the circus over the inaccuracy of the video.
While the Chipperfields’ complaint was going through the process the ADI came up with another idea. Terry Hill and others were to infiltrate various circuses and Hill was going to use the name of ‘Terry Spike Stocker’. He first got a job as ring boy to Tony Hopkins (Tony had leased the name from Chipperfields’ circus) but something was not right – Hill ‘accidentally’ flooded a stable. So they were not disappointed when Hill left to flit between Martin Lacey’s circus and Dickie Chipperfield’s farm.
Dickie entrusted Hill enough to leave him in charge of the big cats while he visited America which was a big mistake. As Terry Hill, using his undercover name “Terry Spike Stocker”, set up scenes of filth in the flesh house and filmed them. Then he kept the animals locked in the dens without exercise and later portrayed this on film as normal circus practice.
Hill also deliberately mixed up animals that were normally kept apart so they would fight. He would then alert the circus folk who would rush in with sticks to separate them. This could have caused injury and death to both man and animal not to mention huge vet bills, alongside the hundreds of hours wasted training the animals that couldn’t then be used for the show. Still, no matter, it made a great edited video of beast men appearing to rush in and hit animals for no apparent reason.
Putting the lives of children in danger on a nearby footpath appears to be of little concern when it comes to setting up a scene where you want to show a lion escaping – handing over the blame to the circus folk.
*Note that Bob, the one crying for help, is actually Tim Phillips CEO of ADI
More proof needed of the dangerous incident from someone else?
The BCS ruling against the BBC rattled the ADI. It proved a new strategy had to be implemented. So enter Angela Smith MP, Ex PR Guru for the League Against Cruel Sports. As Smith was leaving the League in 1995, footage of a hunted stag appeared on TV. The stag falls and then is attacked by hounds as it lays on the ground. This was against the rules of stag hunting and very newsworthy. After the footage appeared on TV, the CEO of the Countryside Alliance asked James Barrington – CEO of the League – to come around as she had something very important to show him. What Barrington saw sent him into a fury – by sheer chance a hunt supporter had videoed the exact same scene, the hounds had not attacked the stag but had ran over and around it once it had fallen. Again the original footage shown on TV had been faked.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Barrington left the League – he was fed up to the back teeth of being misled all the time. However the ensuing media circus surrounding James Barrington’s departure took the limelight away from the fake video and it went uncontested at the time.
Here are ADI and Angela Smith MP at the launch of a video against circuses in 1998:
Angela Smith MP then took this to the House of Commons and showed it to MPs, again without establishing the facts. The many letters of complaint to the UK Home Office and Angela Smith MP went unanswered.
I will leave you with the heart-breaking letter sent from Anne Chipperfield to Angela Smith MP after her brother received a letter bomb. This letter was completely ignored and while the circus industry was ripped apart by fabrications, Angela Smith profited immensely and is now Baroness Smith of Basildon.
The final paragraph sums things up nicely:
“How any person can think it justice to promote false propaganda which incites hatred against a small minority group of people is beyond my understanding.”
If you feel this is an injustice, then please support the circuses and their cherished and much loved and cared for wild animals here:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”