Animal rights campaigners have protested
outside a circus that uses elephants in its show
The elephant act at the Great British Circus is the first in the UK for
more than 10 years. A spokesman said the animals had "the best possible
The circus performed for the last time at Scunthorpe United's football ground
in North Lincolnshire before moving on to Louth on Wednesday. Protesters
from across the north of England protested at the ground. They held banners,
handed out leaflets and talked to people as they arrived for the performance.
Protester Jessica Groling, 21, said: "Circus animals are kept in confinement
in surroundings that are entirely unsuitable, for their entire lives.
"Elephants may travel up to 14 miles a day in the wild.
"They are highly sociable animals that will suffer mentally and
physically when held in captivity."
The circus was also criticised by the RSPCA when it performed in Newark
, Nottinghamshire, last month. The animal charity called for a ban on wild
animals in circuses and urged potential audiences to think of "ethical
Elephants last performed in a UK circus 10 years ago
According to the Great British Circus website, director Martin Lacey "always
insists his animals receive the best possible care and attention".
On the website, Mr Lacey said: "Our African elephant is called Sonja
and her mother was shot in an elephant cull.
"Together with the two Asian elephants, Delhi and Vana Mana, they are
great ambassadors for the species, entertaining and educating the public
within the care and security of the circus to protect them." Chris
Barltrop, from the Great British Circus, said: "The trainer just deals
with them by word of voice, he's not pushing them around with sticks or
whips or anything else.
"He just says 'do this' and they follow him and do it. They follow
him around devotedly like some sort of dog... [it is the] same sort of relationship.
"They have lots of activity, they have lots to think about, they're
in constant contact with one another, with people they have the best of