Animal rights protestors at Weston circus

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ANIMAL rights protesters intend to have a peaceful demonstration on the opening night of the circus at Weston tomorrow.

Campaigners from Animal Defenders International (ADI) said they hope to “inform” visitors to Circus Mondao, which has set up at Baytree Nurseries Garden Centre, with leaflets about circus animals.

It’s the second successive year the circus has been targeted, after the Captive Animals’ Protection Society called for a boycott as it embarked on its 2011 tour.

ADI spokesman Phil Buckley said: “We ask our supporters to attend and make their feelings known. Animals have no place in the circus in this day and age.”

Mr Buckley says the campaigners would like to give circus-goers the opportunity to make up their own minds on the issue.

He said: “The circuses sometimes claim they are targeted and yes, they are, but peacefully. It’s all about education.”

Mr Buckley claims some circuses beat their animals to make them obey.

He added: “Even with the best will in the world, the circus can not provide the animals with the adequate diet and exercise the animals need.”

However, Circus Mondao ringmistress Petra Jackson has hit back at ADI, claiming the group ultimately wants to stop all human interaction with animals.

She said: “Their outlook in life is to stop people having pet dogs, stop horse racing and having guide dogs for the blind.

“We are just a very small minority that they are picking on.”

Circus Mondao keeps a selection of animals, including camels, llamas, zebras, reindeer, horses, ponies and pigeons.

Ms Jackson says they are all in “tip top” condition: “We are inspected much, much more than any local kennels or riding stables.

“Our animals and conditions are tip top and are the best they can be. We have had animal welfare officers say we could teach some places they visit a thing or two about animal husbandry. That’s a huge compliment to us.”

Circus Mondao will be at Weston until Sunday, February 19.