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UK Fury as Chipperfield works on

BBC Online


Circus trainer Mary Chipperfield has been criticised over her plans to carry on working with animals - despite being fined earlier this month for 12 counts of cruelty to a chimpanzee.

Chipperfield and her husband Roger Cawley were fined a total of 8,500 for cruelty to animals and ordered to pay costs of 12,240.

Now 61-year-old Chipperfield has told the Mail on Sunday newspaper she is determined to keep her business going.

Abuse of Trudy led to 12 convictions

She says she expect plenty of work from Germany, where the use of trained animals in the ring is more acceptable than in the UK. Neither Chipperfield or Cawley, 64, were banned from owning wild animals. But animal groups have reacted furiously.

"We are horrified that they plan to continue animal dealing," said Shelley Simmonds, of Animal Defenders, the group that launched the prosecution and secretly filmed scenes of abuse.

"It's a disgrace that only weeks after their convictions they are free to continue their trade."

She called on the government to ban animal circuses once and for all.

'Very disappointed'

Emma Nutbrown, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), said: "We have been campaigning to have people convicted of cruelty banned from keeping animals.

"Twelve counts was a significant amount and we were very disappointed that a ban was not placed on them."

Chipperfield told the Mail on Sunday she was receiving up to 30 hate mail letters a day, one even addressed to "Cruella Chipperfield".

"I felt like Myra Hindley, as though I had murdered someone," she said.

"I came very close to breaking down."

Her only upcoming job is to train horses for a circus act at her home in southern Spain, but continental circuses will bring in further work, she believed.

The couple would also be in demand from UK zoos for moving large animals, she said - they own the only elephant transporters in the country.

Trudy 'a Rottweiler'

Chipperfield maintained Trudy, the chimp she was filmed beating with a riding whip - and over whom she was convicted - was in fact a dangerous animal.

"I am very sorry if people are upset by what I did to Trudy. But it has been put into their minds that this little chimp has the same power as a baby," she said.

"It hasn't at all. At 18 months it's as dangerous as a Rottweiler.

"The public are making me out to be a real ogre."

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