PEOPLE in Tenbury can this week enjoy a visit from Peter Jolly’s Circus.

It has been granted one of the first UK licences allowing the use of animals in its act.

But despite claims that this provides an assurance that animals are properly cared for and trained, an international animal welfare g roup is calling on people to boycott the circus.

The licence is issued under the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012, which came into force on January 20 this year.

On March 1, last year the Government set out its approach to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England. It confirmed that it intends to pursue a ban on the use of such animals on ethical grounds.

DEFRA will publish draft legislation on the ban on wild animals in travelling circuses for scrutiny before legislation.

In the meantime, the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012 established a licensing scheme to protect the welfare of wild animals before a ban can take effect.

Government veterinary specialists have made rigorous checks on Jolly’s Circus, a member of the Classical Circus Association, over the past two years and further inspections have been carried out since November 2012.

Jolly’s Circus was found to be in complete compliance with the regulations, with no welfare problems.

The new licences were issued on March 13 for one year, and a further regime of inspections will ensure continued compliance.

Its aim is to ensure members who work with animals, practice, promote and maintain the highest possible animal welfare standards.

But Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling on local residents to vote with their feet and boycott the circus when it performs in Tenbury.

“Animals with travelling circuses are on the road for almost the entire year,”

said Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International.

“That means they have to endure constant transportation and live in rudimentary, temporary accommodation.”

Over 20 countries around the world have now prohibited either all animals in circuses or wild animals and several more are working on legislation.

In the UK over 200 local authorities have considered the issue and introduced bans – the majority on all animal acts.

The Advertiser approached Jolly’s for a comment but had not receive a response at the time of going to press.