(Watch Photos of Lion Cubs )

Animals rights charities outraged at the move to Japan's Circus Kinoshita 

Four rare white lion cubs born in a UK safari park have been sent to perform in a Japanese circus after being trained in a British facility.

The cubs were born at West Midlands Safari Park, in Bewdley, Worcester, in 2008 but will spend their adult lives entertaining crowds in the Far East.

Animal rights charities have expressed outrage after discovering they were flown 6,000 miles to Japan’s Circus Kinoshita.

It is understood one of the lions has since moved to a zoo in western Japan after it developed a nervous condition which caused its mane to fall out.

The animals were given to British businessman Jim Clubb who runs Amazing Animals, which also goes by the name Heythrop Zoological Gardens, in Chipping Norton, Oxon.

The Kinoshita Circus website boasts that four white lions currently being used in shows were all born in a UK zoo and trained at a UK site.

It states: 'When they became six months old, they were moved to an animal training facility in UK.

'They began training there when they were 18 months old.'

A Japanese investigator working for CAPS discovered one of the lions has been moved to a zoo in the west of the country after it was attacked by the other circus animals.

The lion is reported to have developed a 'nervous disease called autonomic ataxia' causing his mane to completely fall out.

Animal rights campaigners have criticised the safari park for allowing the lions to end up in a circus.

CAPS director Liz Tyson said: 'The current Government has promised an outright ban on the use of wild animals in circuses as a result of overwhelming public, expert and parliamentary support.

'And yet here we have a zoo apparently providing lion cubs to this cruel and unethical trade via a middleman, whilst publicising their work to their paying visitors as based in conservation and welfare.

'It is an appalling betrayal of those people that trust the zoo to protect and care for the animals.

'But most importantly, it is an appalling betrayal of the lion cubs who appear to have been abandoned to this hopeless fate by West Midland Safari Park.'

An investigation by CAPS claim the safari park has close ties with Clubb’s animal entertainment business.

In 2007 Clubb appeared on the zoo’s own TV channel talking about his company which provides animals to the entertainment industry.

Jim Clubb, owner of Amazing Animals, yesterday confirmed he had provided the lions to the circus - saying it was 'business.'

He said: 'We did receive the lion cubs from West Midlands Safari Park and provided them to the circus in Japan.

'There is nothing illegal or underhand about this whatsoever. I will not discuss our financial arrangements but we are a business of course.

'I have no idea whether West Midlands Safari Park knew the lions would be going to the circus, that is a matter for them. I will not go into the arrangement we have with them.'

The safari park - which attracts 1.3 million visitors each year - confirmed they had 'sent' white lions to Clubb 'in good faith.'

Safari park spokeswoman Wendy Jackson said: 'West Midland Safari Park sent white lions to Heythrop Zoological Gardens in good faith and were unaware of any subsequent moves.'

Responses to "Fury as rare white lion cubs born in UK safari park are sent to a Japanese circus"

  1. Anonymous says:

    APPALLING!!!! These beautiful animals have been sentenced to a of life of abuse. All for PROFIT AND GREED!!!

  2. i am in the local area === i am appalled and i wanted to save the world == hey great way to start --- west midlands safari park = you are on my most wanted list now === such cruelty

  3. Anonymous says:

    This must be stopped is there a petition.

  4. Anonymous says:

    mankind has been abusing animals for a very long time and will continue to do so, wether for profit or perverted pleasure. As long as people continue to by animal products from endangered species poaching and slaughter will continue,as long as people pay to frequent zoos and parks then animal trade and animal abuse will also continue. Zoos, animal parks, and game farms should be banned, they are unethical with little or no consideration given to the welfare of the animals, and yes I realize some facilities have improved conditions over the years from when I was a child and saw wild animals in cages stressed to the point of going crazy. But the truth is animals that are used to travelling long distances (bears, cougars,wolves, killer whales etc.) should never be kept in confinment. Wild animals should be left in the wild,and wild animals should not be raised for profit and trade, this is immoral. thank you for reading Steve Harding


    DISGUSTING. The moron who did this must never be allowed to do such a terrible thing ever again. Any animals he has should be taken off him - heaven knows where they'll ened up. I hope & pray that somehow these poor lions can be take out of Japan & placed somewhere safe, maybe another safe animal park in the U.K.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is outrageous. What a sin. So much for "protecting" wildlife.

  7. Aisling says:

    Isn't there something that can be done? Those photos of happy, trusting cubs break my heart.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Shame on West Midlands Safari Park and shame on Bill Clubb.
    Shame on all who abuse and misuse any animal for gain.
    They should put themselves in a zoo, and see how they like it..... soon soon....

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is the saddest statement that I have seen in a long while.. It sounds as if the person that was interviewed was a bit too tight lipped to be doing the "Right" thing.. At any rare, this should have NEVER, EVER happened.. This incident must be thoroughly investigated immediately and these dubs returned from their current situation at the circus.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Using any kind of animal in a circus anywhere in the world should be a criminal offense.Any safari park should never ever send any animal anywhere except back to the wild.There should be tighter controls over the welfare of animals in safari parks anyway.Zoos should be for the protection only of animals when there is no alternative.'Businessmen' who are only concerned with lining their pockets with the sale of wild animals are committing an unforgivable offense and the 'business' should be closed down.This,of course,will never happen as greed rules all.Sad world.

  11. Unknown says:

    The idea if having such a rare and beautiful animal perform in a circus is a blatant act of animal cruelty . It is horrible to think that these lions are to be subjected to a life of unkindness all for human entertainment.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What a horrible thing to do! No animal should be used to perform tricks in shows, especially (semi)wild animals. For a safari park to sell animals to a trading company to begin with is so wrong. If anywhere, they should go to the wild.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Quite the conservationists...breed them and sell them to anyone for any reason. They sentenced these lions to lives of misery, pain, fear, hunger... disgusting.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, you must be in a business of misery because that is what these beautiful, unique animals will face. There is NO place for a wild animal (even one that has had the misfortune of being born in a zoo) to be a form of human (not even close to the word humane)entertainment. I no longer roam zoos, attend a circus or even an aquarium or such because I do not want to be part of a society that thinks the only way to save a wild animal is by capturing it or its offspring to be sold to a zoo or such. Wild animals belong in the wild and we should be doing all within our power to save their habitat for future generations. Shame on us for allowing HUMAN overpopulation to destroy our wondrous planet. It is almost to the point of no return. Lion populations are down 2/3 just within the past 50 years. What does that say?! Advancement means more humans and less animals. I'd rather live off the land in the wild with the wild animals than in a big house surrounded by greedy, self-serving humans.

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