10k petition prompts a review into circus animals on Heath

The City of London Corporation will seek consultative committee’s views before deciding which events

The City of London Corporation will seek consultative committees views before deciding which events will be allowed next year following public outcry. Picture credit: Ron Vester - Credit: submitted

Circuses that use animals on Hampstead Heath are to be reconsidered after a petition with more than 10,000 signatures was handed to Heath managers.

Following the most recent run of the Zippos Circus on Hamsptead Heath, the City of London Corporation has received emails and phone calls complaining about the use of animals in shows.

These are in addition to the online petition calling for the government to intervene to stop Zippos Circus using cats in its shows.

As reported in the Ham&High, protesters clashed with Heath constabulary officers on September 30 as they held a demonstration outside Zippos Circus at the East Heath car park.

In a report to the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee officers said they were now seeking views before deciding whether to allow circuses on the Heath next year in the light of the petition and the protests.

The report to the committee said Zippos has been holding a circus with performing animals on Hampstead Heath since October 2000.

The acts are based around horses, dogs and budgerigars, but this year the circus included a number of domesticated rescue cats.

It said regular checks by City health inspectors showed animal welfare was to a very high standard.

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But it described the protest on September 30 as “a sustained period of hostile abuse, provocation and intimidation towards the Hampstead Heath Constabulary Officers”.

And continued: “Following the circus the Superintendent received a number of emails from members of the public stating that they did not wish to see animals used in shows for the purpose of entertainment along with the petition, calling for a ban on the use of animals in circuses.”

The 2016 circus comprised of 12 performances, plus one charity performance, which raised over £200,000 for charity. An estimated 6,000 people attended.

Martin Burton, the director of Zippos Circus said: “Zippos is subject to regular welfare inspections, all of which it passed.”

The consultative committee will meet on Monday at 7pm at the Parliament Hill staff yard.