Circus owner defends use of animals as attraction arrives in Sutton Coldfield
by Matt Lloyd,
May 26 2012
A RINGMASTER who reportedly claimed he would have to shoot his tigers if a ban on circus animals was passed has brought his troupe to the Midlands.
The Great British Circus began a three-week run at Kingsbury, near Sutton Coldfield, on Tuesday.
Now operating under the name Big Top Productions, the circus is recreating children’s favourite Black Beauty and Friends. It features horses, tigers, camels and even a llama.
But owner Martin Lacey, who has trained animals for more than 40 years, said the accusations of cruelty were “absolute rubbish”.
He told The Birmingham Mail: “These animals are worth a lot of money, are we going to be cruel to that investment?
“I’m not big or brave enough to beat up tigers – they would eat me.
“I have to be their best friend. It has to be organised play. That is how you train a dog – with organised play, this is the same.”
Mr Lacey, whose tigers descend from a cat he collected in the 1970s from a back garden in Birmingham, said there had only been seven prosecutions for animal cruelty against circuses in more than 150 years.
“Daily in the courts there are pet owners who have mistreated their animals,” he said.
“In every industry there are some people who behave badly but you don’t close the whole industry.”
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