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Tiger show sparks concern

The Bermuda SPCA has expressed concern about an upcoming magic performance on the Island that is to feature a live tiger.

Sandys Rotary Club are the organisers behind 'The Magic of Rick Thomas'.

The show is being advertised as the “ultimate tiger encounter”.

The event has concerned the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The organisation believes the show intends to exploit tigers for financial gain.

Sandys Rotary has said any funds raised will be donated to local charities and to PolioPlus, a campaign to eradicate polio.

In a statement released yesterday, SPCA director Kim Sherlaw said: “The Bermuda SPCA is opposed to the use of animals for any kind of entertainment, exhibition or performance where injury, suffering or distress is likely to be caused.

“Welfare issues can arise as a result of the performance itself, but also through training, transport, housing and handling associated with such use.”The Royal Gazette this week.

The animals could suffer stress as a result of their training, travel and confinement, Ms Sherlaw said.

She added that problems would arise should they be injured here.

Ms Sherlaw said the SPCA had discussed their concerns with the show's organisers.

She said she was surprised to learn through the media that audiences would be invited to have pictures taken with a caged tiger.

“This activity adds an additional element to the performance that significantly exploits the animal for financial gain.”

Mr Thomas is described as an “award-winning Las Vegas illusionist and magician” in advertisements that have run in

The show's website, www.rickthomasbermuda.com, states that he has a passion for protecting white tigers the animals he uses in his show.

It also sates his support of the Nevada SPCA.

Yesterday Ms Sherlaw described Mr Thomas as an entertainer, not a conservationist.

“He makes generalised statements, or what may be considered educational talking points,” she said. “Mr Thomas frequently cites the World Wildlife Federation with no apparent connection to the organisation in the information we researched.

“It is unclear as to what role Mr Thomas plays in the breeding of white tigers and the ultimate outcome for these animals, which by nature are intended to be wild, not forced to be entertainment performers.”

Sandys Rotary was contacted for comment but did not return calls by press time.

Coming to Bermuda: A promo video screenshot of magician Rick Thomas on stage with a white tiger.

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Published December 17, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 17, 2010 at 6:43 am)

Tiger show sparks concern

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