ANIMAL rights protestors have called for a boycott of a circus heading to Bolton this week.

Circus Mondao, which features zebras and camels, is one of the few remaining circuses to still use wild animals in its shows, appearing in Hunger Hill from Wednesday.

Paul Thomas, campaigns assistant for Captive Animals’ Protection Society, CAPS, said animal circuses were “outdated”.

“People can enjoy circuses without animals being forced to perform.

“We would encourage people to avoid all them and wait until one of the many amazing all-human shows arrive in town.”

Last Wednesday, 20 people took part in a protest outside the circus show in Bury, with a similar one planned in Bolton.

CAPS is against the use of animals because of the need to keep them confined and the training methods used to make them perform.

Mr Thomas added: “All a circus shows is how animals can be used and abused for people’s enjoyment in a totally false environment.”

But ringmistress Petra Jackson said: “We are a traditional family circus and we do have animals, but they have been with us for years, they don’t just come and go. They are more like pets.”

She said the circus was subject to regular inspections by the RSPCA: “If the RSPCA did have any concerns about the welfare of animals we would be shut down immediately.”

She added: “Animals that are mistreated will not perform, they will sit and cower; anyone who has seen our shows will testify that ours are healthy and happy.”

But Kathy Kay, RSPCA Bolton branch administrator, said: “There is no place for animals in the circus. The issue is a moral one.”

Circus Mondao was set up in 2006 by sisters Carol Macmanus and Gracie Timmis.