Zippos Circus

Animal Welfare


“I have now inspected the circus a number of times over the past few years,  as have the City of London Veterinary Officers and we have not raised any welfare concerns in regards to these animals.”

Sharon Edwards Animal Health Inspector

Port Health & Public Protection Animal Health & Welfare Services

Animal Health Veterinary Surgeon Report - April 2018

Zippos Circus
Blackheath SE3 0UA
London Borough of Lewisham

Officer present: Monica David - City of London,
Animal Health Veterinary Surgeon (Report)

This inspection was made by appointment with David Hibling creative director of Zippos.

On site we met with Mr Hibling, Mr Barrett, Mr Tamik Khadiko and his wife Helena who also is involved with the care of the horses.

The circus has an act with horses and one with Budgies, no other animals.

The horses come from mainland Europe the owner is Mr Khadiko is looking after them and taking care for their welfare and training.

The six horses perform during the show are kept in stables measuring 3 meters by 3 meters. The space allocated would allow them to move around and lay down without restriction, each stable had clean shaving of a suitable depth. Fresh water and hay were available in each stable. The horses looked in good condition and relaxed.

The stables are placed under a tent erected for this purpose, airflow can be regulated opening the sides; this time the horse were not out grazing in the temporary paddock, which is made from a double barrier, with inside electric fencing standoff and a second barrier of metal standoff panels .

As routine the horses will work in the morning for about 2 hours and then will have time off in the paddock before the afternoon and evening performances, if weather condition will permit.

All the horses have a valid passport with vaccination for equine influenza, the Coggin test carried out was negative. The CVEDs for their movement to the UK were also available for the inspection.

The stables were clean and well maintained, with no sharp edges or other maintenance problems that could constitute a hazard for the animals.

The tacks were stored in the horses’ stables. During the night the stable is shared by the horses with a German Shepard dog.

The horse box transport was examined. Transporter Authorisation number UK/REIGA/T2/00097684 for Zippos circus included also the contingency plan; Mrs Helena Khadikova has a certificate of competence for drivers and attendants issued by the Czech Republic and a Transporter Authorisation type A2.

The horses’ transport has been provided with side gates following the discussion with Mr Khadiko, he reported that the addition of the gates has been a positive improvement for the safety during loading and unloading.

Mr Hibling has a list of vets which can provide care for the animals in every location visited by the circus.

Mr Norman Barrett has been with the circus for many years and he has a well-known act with Budgerigars and he is also the Ring-master.

Mr Barrett keep his budgerigars in the adapted rear of a transit van, separation is given by a mesh door. The van is new and interior refurbished.

The accommodation for the birds was clean and of a good size, plenty of perches, drinkers and with ample food supply such to avoid potential territorial confrontation between birds. The birds are kept to a high standard and there was no concern with their welfare.

There were 17 birds in this accommodation and 2 of them are retired and will be re-homed as soon as a suitable place will come along. Both portion of the van are well maintained and clean. The van has a second part which is used for storage of feed supply and to provide the fresh airflow to the aviary.

The accommodation offers good protection and privacy for the birds and the birds are taken into Mr Barrett’s caravan at night

All the birds appeared to be fit and well-kept exhibiting normal behaviour.

There are spare cages for the isolation of sick birds if required and a carrier cage to take the birds into the ring at the time of the performance.

The Circus staff as usual has been helpful and provided all the information requested, they always open to discussion and when suggestion for extra improvement have been made acted upon it.

Zippos Circus and animal rights

Zippos Circus was represented on the Government working group on the new ANIMAL WELFARE BILL - helping to set new standards for circus animal welfare.

Q: I have heard animal rights people are against the use of animals in circuses, even horses. Who are Animal Rights?

A: Animal Rights believe none of us have the right to own animals or eat meat; "The most important thing you can do is go vegan." says a contemporary Animal Rights advocate, Professor Francione, (Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law & Philosophy at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, USA.)

For more see:

Further, Professor Francione argues that animal welfare regulation is theoretically and practically unsound, and he is against setting up welfare legislation for animals. For Animal Rights the issue is not how the animals in our care are treated, rather that we should not own pets or companion animals at all.

For more see:

Zippos Circus is not persuaded by such extreme arguments, but operates within UK and European law, with training, transportation and general animal husbandry, which is of the very highest standard. Zippos are strong advocates of excellence in Animal Welfare and have asked successive Governments to introduce legislation force the external regulation of Circus animals by independent vets and other animal experts, which was final introduced on October 1st 2018.