A travelling circus has defended itself over animal welfare concerns as it arrives in Malpas.
Peter Jolly’s Circus is performing a total of six shows in Hampton from June 8-12.
They are thought to be one of only two remaining groups left touring in the UK to still feature ‘wild’ animals.
Opponents from Animal Defenders International say the ‘small, mobile accommodation’ means the needs of some of the animals cannot be met. Zebras, camels and horses all feature in the shows.
A Peter Jolly’s Circus spokeswoman insisted the animals are well looked after. She added the group are subject to spot checks from Defra and independent vets throughout the year.
The spokeswoman said: “People are invited to come and see for themselves how well treated the animals are.
“The ADI have received the same invite, but they aren’t interested.
“Keepers are with the animals 24 hours a day, some people leave their dogs at home for 12 hours.
“The ‘Antis’ don’t understand and they don’t want to understand. They won’t stop until everybody is a vegan and nobody can own any pets.”
She added the circus members ‘live in fear’ because of the threats made to them by protesters.
The performances had been due to take place in Whitchurch, but the location was changed to Hampton.
Currently there is no ban on wild animal acts, but the ADI said the government has promised a change.
'Cannot meet the needs of the animals'
ADI president Jan Creamer said: “Animal Defenders International has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses.
“Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of wild animals in small, mobile accommodation.
“The government has promised a ban, but we’re asking people to vote with their feet – don’t go to a circus with animals.”
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