At the bottom of this report is the letter Lesley Griffiths Welsh Rural & Environment minister hoped the public would never see. In fact she was so guarded about this letter in the spirit of ‘openness’ she hid the content from the Welsh Assembly so its members would only ever vote to ban wild animals in circuses.
In Dec 2016 Lesley Griffiths was handed the £9,000 publicly funded Welsh review into the use of wild animals in circuses. Not surprisingly the author Prof Stephen Harris had been handpicked to lead the review as he was the recipient of very generous funding by the RSPCA over the decades to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds. To really help Harris along and write the conclusion the Welsh Labour government wanted they allowed him to agree his own criteria. Information obtained with an FOI. A complete setup between the RSPCA Cymru and the Welsh Government from start to finish at tax payers expense. What did you expect? Claire Lawson assistant director of RSPCA Cymru and Lesley Griffiths are best of buddies.
For a few days at least in Dec 2016 all was going well for Lesley and her mate Claire Lawson, the Welsh Government had been handed a review and that gave them the excuse to ban wild animals in circuses on welfare grounds and the public had been fooled into thinking everything was above board. Then for poor Lesley Griffiths and her RSPCA sidekick it all went into melt down – Prof Ted Friend one of only three academics in the world to have conducted empirical research on wild animals in a travelling circus read the review. He was furious at how his work had been twisted to fit the animal rights agenda, in his words – “Harris spin was 180 degrees from what we found”. Rather ironic when you consider, Prof Ted Friend on hearing a review would be conducted in 2015 was pleased to hear his work would be referenced. So he wrote the below letter on Dec 23rd 2016 debunking the review and giving Lesley Griffiths a very miserable Christmas indeed.
He also wrote to Bristol University who by now had quite enough of Prof Harris and his pretence of impartiality antics, he was ushered into retirement from his 40 years of tenured service without so much as a leaving party. Lesley Griffiths on the other hand decided to keep the letter secret from the assembly and public, so they would unquestionably support Labour’s ban.
Before we get to the letter 11 very important points need to be considered.
- Only three academics in the world have ever conducted empirical research into the welfare of just purely circus animals and all three concluded there welfare is comparable to any other human kept animal i.e. horse, dog cat.
- So when Claire Lawson in the North Wales Chronicle on the 8th July 2019 said “The keeping of wild in a travelling circuses is an outdated practise that clearly compromises animal welfare” She is spouting that from her knickers, she is in fact telling the countries dog, cat and horse owners they can’t look after their animals properly.
- In fact by campaigning over decades and not using impartial empirical scientific evidence and only relying on what they funded and considering the harassment and bullying the circus folk have had to endure from town to town from stories put in the local press by the RSPCA, they could be in breach of Charity Commission rules and this will be tested in due course.
- Prof Ted Friend not only wrote to Lesley Griffiths, on hearing the Harris review was being used in Italy to further calls for a ban he wrote to the senate. He told them: “I am concerned that very few people have actually read my scientific publications and discovered that Harris’s spin is 180 degrees from what we found”
- He also told the senate about the plight of one other academic to conduct research into purely wild animals in circuses. Her name was Marthe Kiley-Worthington and unbelievably this was a disinterested study for the RSPCA, the first ever on just circus animals. Unbeknown to Kiley-Worthington she had been handpicked because the RSPCA thought she would find in their favour.
- When she reported back her findings she has since been quoted as saying they nearly had a “heart attack”. They told her to change the conclusions, she refused, and they got nasty and told her we can buy any scientists we want, but she stood firm by her research conclusions. Enter Prof Stephan Harris for their next circus study. http://www.sivelp.it/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/TED-FRIEND-PDF.pdf
- Prof Ted Friend then flew out to the Italy and told the Senate and told them personally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTjY6Gv__2o
- The RSPCA have been campaigning for decades now and most of that originated at the outrage of videos shown in the late nineties taken by an undercover investigator planted by Animal Defenders International (ADI). The undercover operative went by the name of ‘Spike Stocker’ only he didn’t find much wrong so went about causing problems by mixing up animal so they would fight and setting up scenes of filth in the flesh house so it would attract rats and he even let a lion partially escape near a footpath regularly used by children. He then stood back and filmed the mess he made and it’s his actions that motivated the RSPCA to increase their calls for a ban. All was well with the ruse until 2018 when Thomas Chipperfield of all people stumbled on a picture of ‘Spike Stocker’ but this picture was one of ‘Spike’ much later on in life, the man they knew as ‘Spike Stocker’ was really Terry Hill and was working for the League Against cruel Sports (LACS) in Scotland. The hunts were alerted and to the huge embarrassment of The RSPCA, LACS and every single politician supporting this circus bill he was caught red-handed trying to setup hunts by claiming “No Guns in the area” in an attempt to prove illegal hunting. https://countrysquire.co.uk/2018/10/12/the-compromising-of-terry-hill/
- Again with the RSPCA`s decades long campaigning in mind – In 2000 ADI claimed Tom Rider a circus worker blew the whistle on circus cruelty after he became disillusioned after starting work with Chipperfield Enterprises run by Dicky Chipperfield . This gave ADI the excuse to track across the globe and plant operatives to fabricate stories for the press about the circuses treatment of their animals, they maintain the link to this day: http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=247&ssi=10
- Tom Rider was found to be a perjurer and paid plaintiff and certain animal rights groups thereafter were ordered to pay millions in damages. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aspca-pays-93-million-in-landmark-ringling-bros-and-barnum–bailey-circus-settlement-185046751.html
What a lying cheating sleazy mess only a corrupt Labour Government would happily facilitate? Surely the opposition will have nothing to do with it and vote is down. Wrong, Paul Davies, Janet Finch-Saunders and Andrew RT Davies of the Welsh Conservative party have been in possession of the above information for well over 6 months and what is their party’s stance?
Now the letter: