BANNER-WAVING campaigners turned out for a protest against a controversial animal circus which has arrived in Rochford . The Captive Animals’ Protection Society called for people to boycott the circus, in a field off Southend Road.

The circus has changed its name from the Great British Circus to Big Top Productions for this year’s tour, to try to avoid demonstrations by animal rights campaigners.

The circus uses tigers, llamas, camels, reindeer, horses, zebra, dogs and donkeys in its show.

Campaigners who support Southend Animal Aid are planning daily demonstrations outside the circus, until it moves on September 2.

Over the last year, the Government has promised to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses “at the earliest opportunity”.

But protesters are currently worried the proximity of the circus to Southend Airport will increase animals’ discomfort.

Liz Tyson, director of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, said: “Our intention is to support the Government in any way possible, to get the ban on wild animals in circuses in place. We’re asking people to stay away from shows that continue to use animals in the meantime.”

Visitors to the circus are encouraged to go behind the scenes at the circus to see how the animals are kept.

Martin Lacey, from the circus, insisted he was not planning to stop using animals.

He added: “The circus has been next to the flight path on our visits to Rochford for 25 years. Rochford trading standards, who are responsible for animal welfare, inspected our animals with no problems or concerns. If protesters really cared about animals, they would not ask the public to boycott the show, reducing our income and potentially putting animal welfare at risk.”