Circus which uses animals in performances should be avoided, welfare group claims
- Credit: Archant
An animal welfare group is calling on the public to avoid a circus in West Norfolk, citing its animal acts as an 'outdated' practice.
Circus Mondao, which celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, has pitched up at the Knights Hill Farm Shop in Grimston Road, King's Lynn, where it will run shows until March 4.
It has been criticised by Animal Defenders International over its use of animals in performances, which includes llamas, camels, a zebra as well as horses, ponies and reindeer.
But the circus has defended its animal acts, stating its animals are not mistreated and are not wild, with all born and bred in the UK.
Ring mistress Petra Jackson said: 'Animals should have a fulfilled relationship with people, and we have animals that have been with us for years.
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'We care for them dearly, they are family to us.'
Ms Jackson said the circus has been subjected to protests staged by animal rights activists and that it is 'getting worse'.
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She encouraged activists who have concerns to come and speak to the animal trainers, adding: 'You can't make a judgement with what you have seen on the internet.
'The animals have a fantastic life here - they don't have to go and look for food or worry about poachers. The wild is not such a rosy place - why shouldn't they be here? They have a fulfilled life.
'If it wasn't for our animals the circus wouldn't be here. We want to keep this family tradition alive.'
But Animal Defenders International said an animal's welfare is always comprised in a circus environment, especially for wild species.
A spokesman added: 'Given the constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide the animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy.
'Over 40 countries have now taken steps to stop circus suffering, including Scotland and Ireland, with a Welsh ban imminent.
'It is time for England to step up and introduce its long-promised ban without delay.'
Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, added: 'Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of animals in small, mobile accommodation. You can help stop the suffering – don't go to a circus with animals.'