Protests against circus’ use of animals

Circus staff have denied “taunting” demonstrators during an animal welfare protest on Saturday.

The Recorder reported last week how a group of activists planned to protest about the use of animals at the Great British Circus (GBC) which is hosting shows near the junction of Eastern Avenue and Whalebone Lane North.

Activist Nicola Olckers, 33, from Buckhurst Hill, said: “It was really good and we had a good turnout.”

She was joined by 15 other campaigners from animal welfare group Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) to fight for an end to the use of animals in circuses.

The group is not specifically targeting GBC – their aim is to see the use of animals in circuses banned altogether, arguing that it is cruel and unnatural to make animals perform and make them live and travel in confined spaces.

But Nicola claims circus staff had joined them and made comments during their five-hour demonstration.

She said: “They were waving our leaflets in the air and saying ‘I’ve got more brains than you’ – being really childish.

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“We were there for such a good cause and fighting what we believe in.

“A couple of cars turned away after reading our leaflets. A lot of people don’t realise that this circus uses animals.

A spokesman for the Great British Circus said: “The circus people have seen it all before and will usually observe from a suitable distance to ensure that there are no confrontations between the peaceful public and the hostile protesters.

“I have contacted the show and been told that no such confrontation took place.”

The company’s website adds: “We have purpose-built, state of the art travelling accommodation and ensure all our livestock is gently and patiently trained using positive reinforcement.”

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