Chipperfield: I hit baby chimp

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The Independent Online
THE CIRCUS trainer Mary Chipperfield beat a chimp with a riding crop because it would not go to bed, a court was told yesterday.

Giving evidence for the first time in the animal cruelty trial at Andover magistrates' court, the 61-year-old animal trainer said she hit a baby chimpanzee with a riding crop because it tried to bite her. Ms Chipperfield said she had to hit Trudy, aged 18 months, because she refused to go to bed and "was playing to an audience". Ms Chipperfield said the chimp had previously turned on her and bitten her left nipple.

Ms Chipperfield denies 21 charges of cruelty relating to the care of animals at her winter training quarters near Andover, Hampshire. Her husband, Roger Cawley, denies seven charges.

The prosecution said she was an "insensitive, cruel woman" who ruled her farm with "dictatorial authority". Charles Gabb, for the prosecution: "That's how you see yourself - master of all the animals in your kingdom. They will do as you say or they will be beaten ... You don't care tuppence about the infliction of pain. Discipline - that's the god that you worship."

Mr Gabb asked her: "Is it right you think this is a lot of fuss over nothing?" She replied: "A bit along those lines, yes."

The trial continues today.