The ring mistress of a popular circus show has defended its use of animals, ahead of a number of shows in Rainworth.
Circus Mondao is set to perform shows at land next to Rainworth Miners’ Welfare Football CLub, off Kirklington Road, on Thursday and Friday (March 14-15), weather permitting.
It has been criticised by the Animal Defenders International, which says its “inhumane” use of “wild animals” is “outdated”, urging residents to boycott the shows.
Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International, said: “Animal Defenders International has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of animals in circuses.
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“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.”
Professor Stephen Harris, a lecturer at Bristol University, added, “The available scientific evidence indicates that captive wild animals in circuses and other travelling animal shows do not achieve their optimal welfare requirements.”
However the ring mistress at the circus, Pepra Jackson, says the circus is “completely certified by DEFRA” and treats the animals with love and care.
She said: “We are DEFRA licenced, so government certified, and have regular checks to make sure we keep our animals in a good living environment.
“The ‘wild animals’ we have include a Zebra and a camel, and I would hardly call them wild animals.
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“Our zebra is captive bred in the UK for five generations, so we haven’t gone over to Africa and stole a zebra, and camels are domesticated creatures in pretty much all the countries they inhabit.
“As for the way we treat them, there is nothing inhumane about it and we simply do dressage - what is wrong with that?
“Our zebra, or as we like to call it our ‘stripy donkey’, has its own stable which it stays in wherever we go and it is fed very well each day.
“It gets to see its friends each day and is not asked to do anything out of the ordinary.
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“It’s nothing worse than how race horses get treated when they go from racecourse to racecourse, are never settled down and don’t get a frequent environment.
“Animal welfare groups like to paint a picture of circuses as these inhumane hellholes with lions, tigers and bears, but I would encourage people to come and have a look and make your own opinions of our circus.
The circus has had to cancel its show on Wednesday, March 13, due to winds from Storm Gareth.
However it hopes to be open for its shows on March 14 and 15.