ANIMAL rights activists have urged people to boycott a circus visiting Pendle which uses performing animals.

Campaigners from Animal Defenders International (ADI) are up in arms over Circus Mondao, which is in Kelbrook until Sunday.

The international animal rights group claim the zebras, camels, llamas and reindeer endure constant transportation and live in rudimentary conditions.

But circus bosses have hit back, saying the claims are unfounded.

Ring mistress Petra Jackson said: “We are a traditional circus and animals are an important part of our show.

“We have had problems with animal rights activists before and we have said to them that they are welcome to come down and have a look at the animals and see how they are treated.

“They don’t kick off about horses being in the Olympics. It is a case of double standards.

“I think it is a very small minority of people who don’t agree with it. Our animals have plenty of space, are well fed and have plenty of water.

“When we move from town to town our main concern is for our animals and the conditions in which they travel.

“We have seven government registered animal trainers with a wide range of animal care, training and husbandry.

“On top of this we are visited by two specialist vest and a farrier to ensure all our animals are happy and healthy.”

Over 20 countries around the world have prohibited either all animals in circuses or wild animals and several more are working on legislation. In the UK over 200 local authorities have considered the issue and introduced bans, the majority on all animal acts.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International, said: “Animals with travelling circuses are on the road for almost the entire year. That means they have to endure constant transportation and live in rudimentary, temporary accommodation.

“Worse are the horrific abuses during training that Animal Defenders International has exposed behind the scenes in circuses, not just in the UK, but all over the world.

“We urge people to only go to circuses with human only acts.”