Circus can bring its animals

PUBLISHED: 17:51 18 September 2008 | UPDATED: 21:34 31 May 2010

Bobby Roberts Super Circus.
Saffron Walden.
May 28, 2008.
Photograph by Michael Boyton.
Pic shows: Clown Bobbo with Harry the Falabella Pony.

Bobby Roberts Super Circus. Saffron Walden. May 28, 2008. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Clown Bobbo with Harry the Falabella Pony.

A FURIOUS animal rights campaigner has slammed councillors after they refused to ban cruel circuses - which use performing animals in their show - from coming to a town. Campaigner for the Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS) Sue Hughes said she w

A FURIOUS animal rights campaigner has slammed councillors after they refused to ban "cruel" circuses - which use performing animals in their show - from coming to a town.

Campaigner for the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) Sue Hughes said she was "extremely disappointed" by Saffron Walden Town Council's decision to allow circuses which include animal acts to use the Common.

"Most councils have seen the light and have banned animal circuses - there are only a few councils left in the country which still allow this to go on," said Mrs Hughes. "Most have accepted you can't make wild animals perform circus tricks without a great measure of cruelty."

Members made their decision at a full council meeting in Saffron Walden Town Hall last Wednesday.

The issue of animal circuses was brought to a head in May when Bobby Roberts' Super Circus - which uses several animals in its show - performed on Saffron Walden Common.

Campaign manager for CAPS Craig Redmond, who gave a presentation at the meeting, claimed: "A travelling circus can never meet the needs of its animals; violence is commonplace when they are being trained and their living conditions are poor.

"CAPS has been campaigning for 51 years and we have persuaded more than 200 councils to ban animal circuses."

Of particular concern for the campaigners was Bobby Roberts' ageing elephant, Anne, which no longer performs in the show but still travels around the country with the circus performers.

Bobby Roberts' is the only circus in the UK to have an elephant and one of only six circuses that still use performing animals. The circus also has a camel, dogs and horses.

There are about 30 all-human circuses travelling the country.

Saffron Walden Town Council's position has always been that as along as the show is not illegal and the relevant animal-welfare certificates have been obtained, then the circus can go ahead.

Although the decision was split, councillors decided not to take a moral stand on the issue and voted to maintain the status quo.

Cllr Doug Perry said the town council should not ban animal circuses.

"People should have the choice - if they don't want to see a circus with animals then they don't have to go," he said.

But Cllr Sandra Eden urged the council to take a moral stand and said: "The animals have no choice, we do. We need to be brave enough to move forward and take the side of the animals."

Do you think circuses with performing animals should be allowed to perform on Saffron Walden Common?

Let us know by e-mailing alistair.nelson@archant.co.uk

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