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Animal rights group calls for boycott of controversial Lichfield circus

Peter Jolly's Travelling Circus setting up in Lichfield

Peter Jolly's Travelling Circus setting up in Lichfield

EXCLUSIVE: An animal rights group has called for people to boycott a controversial circus in Lichfield.

The traditional Peter Jolly’s Travelling Circus comes to Walsall Road, Lichfield from August 12-16.

But the travelling big top has been targeted by protesters in the past due to the use of animals in the show.

The circus’ website says:

“Peter Jolly’s is a traditional circus as it should be with over 20 different animals including llamas, camel, horses, ponies, geese, zebra, dogs, cats and even an Ankole bull!”

The show also features jugglers, clowns and low wire acts, but it is the use of animals which has proved controversial in the past.

In 2008 the circus’ appearance in Burntwood led to protests from animal rights protesters.

The Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS), who were involved in the Burntwood protest, told The Lichfield Blog they would be calling on people to boycott the circus.

Some of the circus animals grazing in Lichfield

Some of the circus animals grazing in Lichfield

CAPS campaign officer Paul Thomas said:

“People can enjoy circuses without animals being forced to perform. Most circuses now feature an all-human cast, removing the need to keep animals confined for long periods, transport them around the country and use hidden training methods to make them perform in the ring.
“We would encourage people to avoid all animal circuses and wait until one of the many amazing all-human shows arrives in town.”

Peter Jolly’s Travelling Circus had previously been the subject of criticism from campaign groups for being the last UK circus to have a bear as part of the show – something which ended following the bear’s death in 2007.

No-one from the circus was availble for comment.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. Stella Dawkes

    10th August, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I was disgusted to see posters advertising this circus put up around Lichfield recently. I had hoped that the cruel and needless practice of using, and degrading animals for so called entertainment in this way, was long past. As a country that prides itself on its understanding of animal welfare, this is a retrograde step. I would encourage all animal lovers to boycott this circus, but better still to protest sufficiently to have the Council remove the permit for “Peter Jolly’s Circus” ( an unfortunate title as least as far as the animals are concerned) to perform in our City.

  2. o'cearbhaill

    10th August, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    OK, let’s boycott the circus, which means no money for the circus which means no money to care for the captive animals which means put the animals to sleep!!! I’m no supporter of animal “entertainment” but I suspect these animals have been captive since birth and would have absolutely no idea how to survive outside of it. A zoo maybe? I would also think that there are certain legal requirements and regulations that a circus owner woudl have to pass to be able to train and keep animals anyway. As a kid I was a massive fan of a comedy programme called the ” young ones” back in the early 80s. I still laugh when I recall Neil, the archetypical hippy demonstrating for ” vegetable rights and peace”. fantastic. Oh the other thing is that my daughter wants to go to the Zoo tomorrow……what am I going to dooooooooo

  3. Stella

    10th August, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Right,well lets see- I suggest you sit your daughter down and explain to her in a responsible way that these animals have a right (yes animals do have rights) to be treated with dignity and respect and not taught to perform for the so called entertainment of humans. Presumably if you went abroad and she wanted to see bears being taught to dance by being cruelly treated by their owners you wouldnt encourage her to do so? This still happens in some countries by the way-look on the WSPA site. Have you any idea of how circus animals are treated? How would you like to be kept in a cage for most of the day, only to be let out to “perform” in front of a noisy crowd who would frighten you half to death? Read what the RSPCA say if you dont agree with me-they know their job.And in case you think i am a singularly humourless individual, I used to watch The Young Ones too and fell about laughing at Neil the hapless hippy. But at least his heart was in the right place. I dont want to release these captive bred animals into the wild , of course they couldnt survive, but neither to i want to see them have a life like this-which isnt really a life at all.The best solution would be a responsible zoo-and there are a few about-to take them to live out their rest of their lives peacefully.What would be even better of course, is if this type of circus ceased to exist. There are plenty of good circus’s out there who are really entertaining and exciting,(Zippo’s is one for example) but who do not feel the need to use animals in this way.

  4. o'cearbhaill

    10th August, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Well I feel like the pariah here or a cheeky schoolboy called out by miss in front of the class. I’m going to go out for a walk with tufty my black and white collie to get some fresh air. I wonder whether she thinks she’s taking me for a walk? mmm I just thought she’d be a delicacy in some far eastern countries wouldn’t she. I’m well aware of the abuses handed out by “us” to animals. Dare I mention the horrific treatment of animals by the halal meat industry or is that something we skirt around these days; now that is something to demonstrate against!! “come on Tuft let’s go”

  5. o'cearbhaill

    10th August, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    PS, sorry Stella, I didn’t mean to sound like, well…something very silly! I just thought that a boycott was a bad idea; for the animals I mean.

  6. Paul Thomas

    11th August, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Boycott animal circuses

    Animals don’t belong in a circus. The constant transportation from town to town for eight months each year and confinement for long periods means that a travelling circus can never meet all of the needs of these animals, whether elephants, lions, tigers or horses.

    Claims by circuses that animals are stimulated by performances are false. In fact, the same tricks are generally repeated for years.

    Animals are trained away from the scrutiny of the public, politicians or welfare groups. Undercover investigations at circuses in the UK have revealed animals beaten with sticks, bars and whips and sick animals hidden from the RSPCA.

    There is no educational value in seeing these once proud animals reduced to performing tricks in an unnatural environment. Circuses teach a lack of respect for animals.

    CAPS is not opposed to circuses, only to the use of animals, and we encourage people to avoid animal circuses and instead visit one of the many excellent shows that rely entirely on human skills.

    We also ask people to write to their MP, asking them to encourage the government to ban the use of animals in circuses.

    Circuses YES, Animals NO.

    Paul Thomas
    Campaigns assistant

    The Captive Animals’ Protection Society
    PO Box 4186
    M60 3ZA
    0845 330 3911

    Registered charity in England and Wales. Number 1124436

  7. Pingback: Councillor does not object to controversial circus in Lichfield

  8. skippy

    11th August, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    The animal rights movement doesn’t think animals should be ate, worn,kept, held, worshipped or be allowed to live. They have a secret. The secret is to run all ANIMALS into extinction…..

  9. Mark Alexander

    11th August, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Just been down to see the animals for myself and they are magnificent! They show no sign of any stress at all and are just relaxed and happy little beasts. Tons of kids and parents arrived to see them too, it’s quite a spectacle and the animals still showed no stress, being well used to having people about.

    People who want to boycott the event based on the misstreatment of these beautiful creatures should see the facts for themselves.