Protests against the use of animals in circuses have taken place in Wrexham over the past few days, following the arrival of a circus in town.
Peter Jolly’s Circus arrived in Wrexham of last week and has been been criticised for its use of animals, including lions, tigers, camels, reindeer and zebras, in its performance. The circus is one of two in the UK that still uses animals in its shows.
However its arrival in the town has been met with anger from animal rights activists and some members of the public, with protests staged outside the circus throughout the week. A protest was also scheduled to take place today at 1pm.
Over the past few days several people have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the use of animals in the circus, with Victoria Davies on Wednesday: “Absolutely shocked and sickened to find out that Wrexham will be having Peter Jolly’s Circus in town from tomorrow using wild animals!”
Additionally a comment has been left on the Wrexham Council Facebook page, with Mandy Neal writing: “Just wanting to ask who in the council made the decision to let the vile circus come to Wrexham August 27th until Sept 7th?
“The law has been passed to make using animals in circus’s illegal. Just because it doesn’t come into effect until 2015 doesn’t mean you have to let these people come to Wrexham and make money from animal abuse. Shame on you WCBC. Another thing to add to your long list of screw ups.”
We asked Wrexham Council if they were involved in the licensing of the event, and we were told: “The circus is being held on private land and checks have determined it has the necessary licences which means it is operating within the current law.”
“It does not need the permission of the council to go ahead and the council does not have the power to prevent it going ahead.”
We also queried if the forthcoming changes to legislation at the end of next year would mean this could be the last such event in Wrexham, the Council said: “Officers are currently looking at the new legislation and what impact it will have on travelling circuses to the area.”
Earlier this month similar protests against the circus took place in Buckley, with several activists campaigning for a ban on the use of animals in UK circuses.
The Twitter page ‘Stop Circus Suffering‘ has also been tweeting that campaigners have been taking part in ‘peaceful protests’ outside the circus and encouraging others to join them.
Press officer for Peter Jolly’s Circus, Anthony Beckwith told Wrexham.com that the protesters are from Liverpool and have followed the circus around for seven weeks. However we believe a number of people from Wrexham have also taken part in the protests this week.
Mr Beckwith added: “The circus is licensed by the British Government, which involves seven annual inspections, four quarterly by our own appointed vet; then three directly by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs) and one unannounced.
“The inspections are carried out by highly qualified zoo vets on behalf of DEFRA. The animals are fully assessed for physical and physiological problems, the circus is required to keep a full log of everything done with the animals from feeding and watering to training and transporting.
“DEFRA check all the paper work and any discrepancies would be immediately highlighted by DEFRA in the reports that can be found on their website. If the welfare of the animals was compromised in any way the circus would not be licensed and would not be open to operate and both we have passed every single inspection since the licensing was brought in to place.
“If anybody has any concerns we have an open door policy people can come down and see the animals during the day , also the DEFRA reports are public and can be found on their website.”