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Jungle Zoo and Great British Circus get Easter protests; zoo manager arrested

North of England Animal Rights | 13.04.2009 19:26 | Animal Liberation | Sheffield

Protests hit the Jungle Zoo in Cleethorpes and the Great British Circus in Grimsby on Sunday 12 April. The Jungle Zoo is about the worst kind of dump that passes legal muster, while the Great British Circus makes its wild animals perform unnatural tricks for the gawping public. Campaigns are active against both. A trail of protests is following the Great British Circus around on tour, and the Jungle Zoo's manager was arrested following an incident during the protest that was caught on video.

Two abusers of captive wild animals were hit by protest on the Lincolnshire coast yesterday. In action timed to coincide with Zoo Awareness Weekend, the Jungle Zoo in Cleethorpes found itself with a campaigning presence outside the gates on the morning of a busy Easter Sunday. Activists from around the North of England gathered to display banners, make plenty of noise, hand out leaflets and talk to visitors and passers-by about the well-documented welfare problems inside the animal prison.

In the early afternoon, at least forty campaigners gathered outside the 'Great' British Circus, which is in the middle of two weeks of performances in Grimsby before moving on to Leicester. The circus, which has been followed by protests throughout its current tour of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, has one of the biggest wild animal acts in the country and this year introduced three elephants to its cast of captive tigers, lions, zebras, camels, llamas, horses, ponies, goats and reindeer. This year is the first in ten years to see elephants in a UK circus, thanks to Martin Lacey and his gang. The miserable lives of circus animals and the shameful record of the Great British Circus were detailed in a recent Indymedia report on a protest in nearby Scunthorpe:

The Great British Circus remains next to Morrisons on Laceby Road, Grimsby, DN37 7SQ until Sunday 19 April. From Tuesday 21 April to Sunday 10 May it will be on Leicester Road (A426), Glen Parva, Leicester, LE2 9TG. The circus's website gives some advance notice of its venues. Protests have been well-attended so far, so get organising if it's coming near you!

What distinguished this day of protest from the average demo came later when Bernard Bale, manager of the Jungle Zoo, was carted off by police following an 'incident' involving a Transit van, which we can't say too much about at the moment because it's now the subject of a criminal investigation. A banner was broken, a bystander's parked car damaged, and one protester suffered slight facial injuries. The whole thing was caught on camera and the video offered to Humberside Police as evidence. We hope it, and further details, can be made public in due course. Several police officers including a detective sergeant turned up, and detailed statements were taken from those involved. Bale was the only person arrested. Ten days previously his complaints about reckless motorists outside his zoo were the subject of an article in a local newspaper:

The Jungle Zoo has long been the focus of complaints from animal protection groups and members of the public. The results of a 2007 investigation by the Captive Animals' Protection Society highlighted numerous animal welfare and public safety concerns. Many of the zoo's enclosures are very basic, with birds housed indoors and showing signs of stress such as feather-plucking, snakes kept in tanks too small even to allow them to uncoil, and capuchin monkeys and lemurs kept outside on concrete floors. Barriers keeping visitors and animals apart were also found to be inadequate to counter the risk of bites or contagious disease.

A government zoo inspector, visiting the Jungle Zoo in 2000, recommended that the zoo's licence be renewed "despite a large number of defects" subject to the condition that the owners "produce a detailed and costed plan for the development of the zoo." But returning in 2006, the inspector again referred to the "considerable number of defects" at the zoo. Most damningly, the report stated that "although these were highlighted during the inspection of 2000, the problems have not been followed up by the local council and in the intervening six years these problems have become magnified and solutions are now becoming urgent."

Given its particularly poor treatment of the unfortunate animals it holds captive, the Jungle Zoo should be a priority for those urging a boycott of zoo cruelty. The sooner it goes out of business the better. Peaceful protests outside the gate, educating visitors and passers-by about the problems of imprisoning wild animals to be gawped at by the paying public, and countering the zoo's propaganda about its educational and conservation value can all help.

Useful links:

* The not-so-wonderful world of the Jungle Zoo has been detailed and photographed by CAPS, whose website is also the source of the quotes from the inspector:

* A Facebook group has been set up for discussion of the campaign against the Jungle Zoo, and has more pictures from yesterday's protests:

* Likewise for the Great British Circus:

* Veggies AR Calendar is a good source of circus news and information:

North of England Animal Rights

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Nottingham - ready and waiting

13.04.2009 20:10

Nottingham Animal Rights campaigners have been monitoring the 'great' british circus for several years.

They used to start their season here, but last year arrived later than expected. This year they are long overdue, and indeed have scheduled their Leicester stop next, rather than Nottingham. Whilst we will no doubt feel slighted if they don't visit sunny Nottingham soon, we may well visit them in Leicester instead. Watch this space, or subscride to NottmAR newslist at

These listings from last year will be updated when this year's details are confirmed:


Nottingham Animal Rights feature:

Everything else on the Animal Rights Calendar:

Nottm AR
- Homepage:


13.04.2009 21:06

yeah, what a scumbag that guy was, nearly killed at least 2 people. complete idiot.
hope they slam the book on him.


For readers of Leeds/Bradford indymedia...

14.04.2009 00:26

It may or may not have escaped your notice but that old favourite of animal rights campaigns, Bobby Roberts and his circus of suffering will be 'performing' at the Halifax RUFC, Ovenden stadium, Keithley Road, HX2 8AR between the 15th and 19th april. I can only hope they get the same warm welcome to west yorkshire that the great british circus receives on it's tour around the uk.

For telephone bookings, should you wish to enquire about the best seats to view their 'equestrian display' or the perhaps not so appropriately named 'liberty horses', their website gives the telephone number 07860787745.

For more information, i suggest bypassing their website and heading straight over to

To all at bobby roberts, we hope you enjoy the show!


Visitor report: inside Jungle Zoo

14.04.2009 19:34

This report on conditions inside Jungle Zoo was written by someone who visited in 2008 and wishes to remain anonymous. It's further evidence of why the place is not fit to stay in business.

* * * * *

The one storey building sits within a metal wire surround. The planting is tatty and overgrown. To the sides of the entrance door piles of wood and rubble can be seen, along with a large fibreglass lion under plastic sheeting. The verges are overgrown with weeds, to the extent that we wondered if the premises had been abandoned.

Once inside, there was a large handwritten sign saying ‘No Photography’. We asked about this and he said ‘we have had problems with the anti’s’.

There was also a hand written sign saying ‘Wallabies no longer on show’.

The building was cold, so much so that I had to return to the car for my coat. We had been told on the internet that the atmosphere would be hot and humid but it was neither. The walls were mainly concrete and the roof was wood and Perspex. There were some holes in this, evidenced by a number of wild birds who had flown in. Wood work was tatty in places and areas at the back of cages were clearly visible, one containing a pile of parrot cages and other junk.

There were some home made looking information labels on some of the cages, mostly bird, but many had no information, including the meerkats and monkeys. The only member of staff we saw was the man on the front desk, who told us he had been working in Zoos, including Dudley Zoo, for 50 years.

Most of the collection is birds, including parrots, mynah birds, cockatoo and toucans. One parrot, a white one in a small solitary cage was very talkative. Although there was a sign up saying that ‘this bird bites’ I was able to hold her claw through the bars as there was no safety barrier.

There was large pond with goldfish and terrapins of various sizes. The water looked clean. There were also larger tanks, one containing an iguana and four tortoises. Others had lizards (no label so not sure which breed), and another had about three caiman.

To the side, there is a room with a lower ceiling containing glass tanks with snakes in. The largest tank had three large Boa in, one of whom had her skin peeling away. We asked the man at the desk about this and he told us that snakes should shed neatly i.e. their whole skin in one go but that because the humidity was not right she had been unable to do so and it would take her a few days to get the rest off. One Boa was stretched with his face up the side of the glass and pressed on the ceiling. His body at the back was still curled and he clearly had insufficient space to unwind fully. His tank had a thermometer which showed 82. Apart from the one big tank, all the snakes had cat litter trays as ponds, one containing two small snakes who had fully immersed themselves. There was not enough space for them to swim. One tank had three insects in, possibly beetles. We asked the man what they ate and he didn’t mention those but said they were fed on frozen mice and rats.

There was also a tank of large snails and a few tanks containing spiders / tarantula.

Outside the building were more animals in a garden area to the back, accessed through a plastic strip divider (as used in refrigerated food warehouses) and a wooden door. There were more birds, and one cage contained what looked like half a bat on the floor. We wondered if a wild bat had been able to fly in (the bars were clearly wide enough) and had then been attacked by the captive birds. There were chipmunks, who had a reasonable size enclosure and a reasonable amount of toys/enrichment. They were fast moving and lively.

There were two cages, one containing a long low metal cage and the other a wooden rabbit hutch with it’s doors open. Inside we could see a number of guinea pigs of various ages, including very young ones.

The first monkey had the bigger enclosure – I am not sure what breed as again, no label. There was a wooden barrier around his cage to prevent finger poking and a sign saying that ‘this monkey bites’. He looked a sullen little creature and stayed mostly in the wooden enclosure at the back. His enrichment was a suspended car tyre and a couple of dog toys. The next monkey exhibited signs of stress, making a repetitive move of running up a branch and then banging the door to his indoor area. This made a really loud noise. He then sat in his doorway eating. I recognised this monkey as possibly a capuchin, but again, no label to confirm. His enrichment was a couple of branches and two dog toys on the floor, plus a chewed plastic lorry.

The Meerkats gave me most concern. There were three that I saw, although there could have been more. Their enclosure was a concrete area, viewed through Perspex, containing a metal tray of food and a wooden nesting box. Their outside space was a small concrete enclosure which looked to have insufficient drainage as a large puddle had formed. There was a low wall, behind which there was an earth filled play area. Apart from a couple of dead tree branches there was no enrichment and nothing growing. The enclosure looked poorly maintained and in urgent need of repair. I was also concerned that the wall to the outside area was low enough to reach over, allowing members of the public to attempt to stroke or feed them.

There were three small goats in an outdoor pen. We were able to feed these with bran pellets bought from the gift shop, however the wire enclosure was very high and the only way to get food in was to poke it through the bars. Their floor was concrete with some sawdust and straw scattered on. They had a wooden bed area to the rear and a stray or hay filled manger.

A pen containing a number of white chickens was also in the outside area.

A sink was provided for hand washing, however this was dirty. The soap dispenser was broken and the water was only cold. No towels or drying facilities were available. We also noted a large carrier bag blowing around the garden and two rubbish bins which had blown over.

Whilst the animals did appear well fed – we saw food which looked appropriate and fresh, and the sawdust looked fresh, we left with real concerns about the size of the pens and tanks and the overall welfare of the animals. The general feel of the place was very run down and neglected.

I was also concerned that I could hear animals in the area marked private (a talking bird and a dog), and wondered why they were there and what their accommodation was like.

The list of animals at the zoo in 2005 (taken from a web based visitor’s review) is also very different and I would be interested to know where the missing animals are. Molly the 100 year old tortoise, the ring tailed lemur, budgerigars and lovebirds, and raccoons were all listed but not to be seen. (Alligators were also mentioned but I wonder if the reviewer meant the caiman?) The guinea pigs were also clearly breeding and I would be interested to know where their offspring go (pet shop? Sale to public? Snake food?). It felt a strange mixture of domestic and wild creatures – some of the animal feed contained broken eggs so perhaps that is why the chickens are there.

North of England Animal Rights

Local press report on the zoo 'incident', with the video

15.04.2009 09:57

Anyone wanting more details about the incident that led to the zoo manager's arrest (we weren't sure what we could legally say and didn't want to prejudice a potential prosecution) can now read a report and watch our video of Bernard Bale's crazy driving antics on the Grimsby Telegraph's website:

Apparently, it was all an accident, he swerved to avoid something in the road, and he was just trying to get away from us anyway! Have a look and judge for yourself.

North of England Animal Rights

what a lunatic

15.04.2009 10:54

This man is a complete lunatic. He drove his van straight into the group of protesters (intent can be proven by the fact that he even went to move his advertising boards away moments before) and could have SERIOUSLY injured people, not to mention endangering kids and other passers-by when he sped off with the banner draped across his windscreen. What an absolute nutcase. My guess is that he was unaware that there was video footage when he made a statement to the police and the press saying that it was a 'regrettable accident' and that he had to swerve to avoid 'an obstacle in the road'. He claims to have been alarmed and distressed by abusive language and was only trying to flee the scene. What a pathetic man. I can't believe that someone like that is allowed to keep animals in a zoo. He should be stripped of his license and spend time behind bars for dangerous driving, assault, and attempted murder!


That video in full...

15.04.2009 12:01

Here's the video of the moment when a van Bernard Bale happened to be at the wheel of mysteriously ploughed into a group of protesters standing on the verge. The police have it on CCTV from another angle, which should be useful in establishing the truth of Bale's claims that he was swerving to avoid someone in the road. Yes, that's right, swerving away from one person into about ten, not just stopping and waiting for the (purported) person in the road to move, and then driving off with a banner obscuring his windscreen, not checking if the people he'd swerved into were okay, and crashing into a parked car as he went on his way.

North of England Animal Rights

Trial collapses after a 'procedural error'

21.01.2010 16:33

Several months later and Bernard Bale was acquitted on the second day of his trial for dangerous driving at Doncaster Crown Court yesterday after someone in Humberside Police and/or the Crown Prosecution Service apparently messed up the paperwork. According to conflicting accounts, he was either charged with the wrong offence (something to do with dangerous driving only applying on the public highway - this was in a car park), or he wasn't served with a notice of intended prosecution correctly. The judge, whose main claim to fame is treating a rape as a childish prank (, directed the jury to find him not guilty shortly before he was due to take the stand to attempt to answer some very compelling evidence presented by the prosecution, involving video footage, multiple witness accounts, the testimony of an independent witness who was walking past at the time, and evidence presented by the attending and interviewing police, who in earlier conversation had seemed pretty confident there would be a positive outcome.

The video speaks for itself. Nobody needs to put themselves at risk of being sued by claiming Bernard Bale is guilty of dangerous driving when he wasn't convicted in court, people can simply watch the video and make up their own minds about the whole business.

Protesters who gave evidence against Bale were subjected to endless badgering about their animal rights positions by the defence barrister, who didn't seem to have so much to say about the incident itself beyond pantomime-style "you're making this up aren't you? No, I'm not. Yes, you are!" It would have been interesting to see if the jury managed to keep their deliberations to the question of dangerous driving rather than falling for the "but these crazy people don't even want you to eat meat!" defence, but I guess we'll never know.

It's worth noting that the police who dealt with the incident, apart from the unknown paper-pusher who messed it all up, seemed pretty helpful and professional throughout. Who knows what happened higher up to this case, but conspiracy theorists who think it was deliberately scuppered because of the police's usual attitude towards animal rights protesters should bear in mind that they've come out looking incredibly stupid and incompetent here, and have put time and money into a prosecution that has fallen apart and left them embarrassingly unable to chalk it up as a successfully concluded investigation on their Home Office statistics. The prosecution team also failed to pick up on the legal technicality in advance, and so it was that well into the trial the defence waved it in their face and Bernard Bale walked free with a smirk on his fat face. Both Humberside Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have a complaints procedure for anyone who wants some accountability after this legal train wreck: and

Mainstream media reporting of the case complete with ignorant readers' comments:

No doubt there will be demos to follow, stay tuned!

North of England Animal Rights