THE RSPCA has reaffirmed its opposition to the use of live animals in circuses after the big top rolled into Nantwich.

Peter Jolly’s circus is staging performances at the Alvaston Business Park, off the A530, from June 18-22.

But the RSPCA is asking locals to boycott going to circuses that use live animals.

Peter Jolly’s argue that as only one of two circuses in the UK to be licensed by DEFRA, all the animals are looked after properly.

RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said: “The impact of circuses on animal welfare is serious and potentially debilitating for each and every animal involved.

“Animals are forced to endure the constant travel, cramped temporary cages, and noisy conditions of a circus.

“It is not a quaint tradition that harks back to Victorian times. It is an archaic and heartless practice which must be stopped completely.

“This circus may be one of two that are licensed to use wild animals - but that is still too many.”

Anthony Beckwith, spokesman for Peter Jolly’s Circus said: “We are licensed by DEFRA and their checks are very stringent.

“We are inspected seven times a year and three of those are surprise checks where the inspectors just turn up.

“Every single animal has its own individual paper work. We have IDs and thorough records of all the checks we carry out.

“Every time we do anything with the animals – when they are fed, watered, transported; everything – it’s all recorded. And people don’t have to take our word for it; they can see all this information on Defra’s website for themselves.

“We have an open door policy. People are welcome to come down and see the animals and the conditions they are kept in for themselves.”