A major scientific study by Emily Davies and I has just vindicated the position of celebrity naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, who claimed in the High Court in 2023 that circus environments can be harmful to the welfare of tigers. Packham had previously sought to raise funds for the care of several tigers rehomed from a Spanish circus into the Wildheart Trust – a wildlife sanctuary on the Isle of Wight. However, the Country Squire Magazine website had accused Packham of defrauding people while attempting to raise funds, by claiming the tigers had been rescued from a circus, despite knowing they had been well looked after. Packham then sued a writer and Editor for libel, with the High Court awarding Packham £90,000 in damages and an initial £400,000 towards costs.

It was my privilege to serve as an expert witness in that case. In the modern, civilised world, animals should not be harmed for entertainment. Over 50 nations have already banned or restricted the use of wild animals within circuses. The remainder should do so, without further delay. See also the summary video, with Chris Packham.



Davies E and Knight A (2024). Welfare implications for tigers in travelling circuses. Animals, 14(7), 1053. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14071053.