Britain's last lion tamer Thomas Chipperfield has accused Sir Roger Moore of hypocrisy after the former James Bond star wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for her to ban the use of Animals in British circuses. Writing on behalf of animal rights advocates Peta, Moore compared circus trainers to the Bond villain Dr No. But Chipperfield has pointed out that the 89-year-old actor was happy to work with trained tigers and elephants in one of his most popular films, Octopussy.


The 1983 Bond Film is partly set in a circus and includes a memorable scene where the secret agent confronts a tiger in the jungle.

Moore's stunt double for the scene was Thomas' uncle John Chipperfield, while the tiger was supplied by another uncle, Dickie Chipperfield.

Lion tamer attacks double standards

It's not the first time that the 26-year-old Chipperfield has clashed with a celebrity over the issue of animals in the big top. In 2015 Chipperfield was appearing on live Television show This Morning when guest presenter Amanda Holden criticised him for keeping animals in captivity. When Holden began to talk about her work with anti-circus campaigners Born Free, the lion tamer accused the actress of double standards because of her work with trained animals in the Africa-set TV show Wild At Heart.

Chipperfields' Circus

Chipperfield was in a position to know, because Alex Larenty, who trained the animals in Wild At Heart had learned his craft in Chipperfields' Circus which, at that time in the 1960s, was the biggest circus in Europe and travelled with a menagerie of more than 200 animals from chimps to elephants.

Furthermore, the animals in Wild At Heart were supplied by a reserve founded by the Chipperfield family.

Circus animals on film and TV

Although many actors have partnered with Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Born Free to campaign against the use of animals in circuses, circus animals are typically the first choice for animals that appear in film and on television because they are used to lights, people and training.

White tiger act

Thomas Chipperfield comes from a line of animal trainers that stretches back more than 300 years, and his family were also responsible for pioneering the drive-through safari park at Longleat and several other locations throughout the UK. He is currently touring Italy with a white tiger act in Circo de Vienna and expected to tour the UK with An Evening of Lions and Tigers in the coming year.