MP Lisa Nandy and an animal welfare campaign group have called on Wiganers to boycott a wild animal circus which comes to town this week.
Circus Mondao will be performing in Ashton this week but campaign group Animal Defenders International (ADI) has called on people not to attend as the show is just one of two left in the country that includes what it calls wild animal acts.
ADI said that due to constant travel and their temporary nature, circuses cannot provide animals with adequate facilities to keep them physically or psychologically healthy meaning their welfare is compromised.
Jan Creamer, ADI president, said: “Animal Defenders International has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses. Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of wild animals in small, mobile accommodation.
“The government has promised a ban, but we’re asking people to vote with their feet – don’t go to a circus with animals.”
An Evening Post photographer captured an image of a camel belonging to the circus chained to a post in Ashton ahead of one of its shows.
However, circus owner Petra Jackson, hit back, defending her animal welfare record.
“Our animals are very important members of our family with some of them being with us for over 30 years. They are loved and cared for like any family member,” she said.
“Our stables, enclosures and transportation are up to the standard of government regulations, and if anyone takes the time to pass the circus during the day you will see the animals out grazing in the surrounding fields.”
Circus Mondao, which was granted a licence in March to keep animals, has been criticised by government inspectors for poor animal care including lack of veterinary attention, substandard animal facilities and poor protection of the public.
ADI has said that government has promised to ban wild animal acts but up until now it has been up to local authorities to prohibit them on public land.
Lisa Nandy MP said: “It’s a scandal that despite its promises, the government has consistently refused to bring in a ban on wild animals in circuses. Animal welfare experts like the RSPCA are clear about the harm this causes to wild animals. Last year a private members bill to ban wild animals in circuses was defeated by just three Conservative MPs who blocked the bill.”