Campaigners protest outside circus

ANIMAL rights campaigners turned out in force to protest against a circus that is currently touring Essex.

The Great British Circus has been at Stanway, near Colchester, and will shortly be moving on to Clacton Airfield.

It features performances from tigers, lions, camels, llamas and horses.

Campaigners are concerned about the conditions the animals are living and working in and yesterday they protested outside the Big Top in London Road, Stanway.

Last night circus bosses defended themselves saying they met all health and safety and trading standard regulations.

But protest organiser Jane Williams urged people to boycott the circus.

“I am sure if people realised what these poor creatures are going through they would not wish to go,” she said. “They are forced to perform out of fear, this circus is as far removed from these animals’ natural environment as you could possibly get.

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“The tigers live in confined wagons for around nine months of the year, pacing up and down in their cages going out of their minds and being hauled around the countryside to perform the most demeaning acts - for entertainment.

“They are condemned to a lifetime of imprisonment and exploited for profit. Animal circuses have no place in today’s society.”

But John Bird, manager of the Great British Circus, said trading standards and health and safety officials were satisfied everything was in order.

“I think we should listen to the experts rather than emotive rhetoric from protesters,” he said.

“There is a recent report three years in the making looking into circuses - compiled by three experts put forward by animal rights people and three put up by the circus industry. All agreed that circuses are perfectly capable of meeting the welfare needs of animals in their care.”

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