Animal welfare groups join criticism of Lichfield circus

Some of the circus animals grazing in Lichfield

Some of the circus animals grazing in Lichfield

Two more animal welfare groups have backed calls for a boycott of a controversial circus which has arrived in Lichfield.

Peter Jolly’s Travelling Circus has set up off the Walsall Road in the city and a wide array of animals have been seen in the adjoining fields ahead of the opening night.

But the circus has been clouded in controversy the use of animals in its show.

Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) told The Lichfield Blog earlier this week that they were keen to see a boycott of the circus.

And now animal welfare groups RSPCA and PETA have joined the criticism of the circus.

RSPCA spokesperson Judith Haw said:

“The RSPCA, basing its view on comparative science, firmly believes that the welfare of wild animals can never be met in circuses and that confinement, constant transportation, loud noises, abnormal social groups and inadequate winter quarters may all cause suffering.

“There is absolutely no similarity between the lives of wild animals and those of these circus captives.  Any educational value claimed should be seriously considered by members of the public.  After all, are we as a nation, or the animals themselves, benefited by their performing tricks which they would not naturally do?”

And animal rights group PETA have also criticised Peter Jolly’s Travelling Circus for their use of animals.

Their spokesperson claimed such circuses were an unnecessary throwback to the past:

“Most people in the UK oppose the use of live animals in circuses. The animals involved are typically denied everything that is natural and important to them – freedom, family and room to roam. They are kept from their natural habitats and stored like bicycles – tied up between acts or confined to small cages. They are forced to perform repetitive ‘tricks that are invariably frightening and confusing to them, cause them discomfort and are even painful.

“Jolly’s Circus should follow the example set by modern animal-free circuses such as Cirque du Soleil, which spotlight human creativity and talents and use voluntary performers who are able to go home and enjoy their lives after each show. It shouldn’t force animals to perform in acts that are a throwback to the days before television and world travel.”

A previous visit to the area by the circus in 2008 saw a high-profile campaign from protesters when the circus opened its doors in Burntwood.

Peter Jolly’s Travelling Circus runs from August 12-16 and more information about the show can be found on their website.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.