ANIMAL protection campaigners are calling for Middlewich residents to shun a wild animal circus as it pitches up in town this weekend.

Peter Jolly’s Circus is one of just two in the UK which still feature wild animal acts, and will be on the A54, Holmes Chapel Road from tomorrow, Thursday until Sunday, July 8.

While still legal, wild animal circuses are set to be withdrawn from England by 2020 after legislation was passed earlier this year. Many countries – including Scotland – have already banned the practice.

A protest group is claiming that the animals’ welfare needs are not being met within the industry, although the circus has repeatedly denied these claims.

Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said: “ADI has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of animals in circuses.

“Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of animals in small, mobile accommodation. You can help stop the suffering – don’t go to a circus with animals.”

Calling on research by the Welsh government and the University of Bristol, ADI says animal circuses cannot provide adequate facilities to keep their acts physically or psychologically healthy.

Veterinary associations in Britain and Europe have also concluded that the animals’ needs cannot adequately be met as part of a travelling circus.

The use of wild animals by travelling circuses will be banned from 2020 in England, the Government has pledged, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirming a target date of January 19 – the day current regulations expire.

Many local authorities have banned wild animal circuses on public land.

The Peter Jolly’s event in Middlewich will be held on the A54, Holmes Chapel Road, CW4 7LW

Representatives for the circus have refuted criticism of the animals’ welfare. In order to keep its licence, the company is subject to inspections and a number of strict conditions.

When contacted by the Guardian two weeks ago about the show in Northwich, the circus declined to comment, although organisers have previously defended the treatment of their animals.

Protests greeted the circus when it visited Middlewich four years ago.

A representative said at the time: “There are certain strict guidelines we have to adhere to and we have seven random inspections a year.

“I can assure anybody that if we were mistreating our animals we would not be open.”

For more information about the circus visit