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Banners beseech a big top boycott





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Protesters at Newark Showground on Saturday tried to persuade people to boycott the first performance of a controversial circus.

Fifteen campaigners from Nottingham, Retford, Lincoln, Northampton and Sheffield joined the protest on behalf of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society.

The Great British Circus, one of the few circuses in the country that still uses animals, is at the showground until March 2.

It is the first time the Lincoln-based circus, which features lions, tigers, a zebra, camels and horses, has been in Newark.

Protesters held up placards, banners and handed out information produced by the society.

One of them, David Best (18) of Nottingham, wore a tiger costume and held a poster asking passing cars to sound their horn if they were against the circus. The protest was confined to the entrance to the showground.

David Best, who studies animal management at Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst campus, Southwell, said using wild animals in circuses was wrong and they were appealing to people not to support entertainment that exploited them.

He said the welfare of animals in zoos was improving but it was difficult to control conditions in circuses that were constantly travelling across the country.

Mr Best said the protest lasted for two hours and around 25 cars entered the site while they were there.

He said five cars stopped to take leaflets and turned around.

He said they planned to organise more protests at the showground while the circus was still there.

Another protester, student Miss Nicola O’Brien (21) from Lincoln, said: “There are plenty of circuses that don’t have animals and people still enjoy them. A lot of people can see why we would be against it.”

The protesters were watched by circus workers who put up signs thanking visitors for ignoring the protest.

Pc Martin Drew of Newark police was also there.

The circus ringmaster, Mr Martin Lacey, said there were two shows on Saturday and both were successful. He would not say how many people attended.

He previously told the Advertiser that protesters often followed them and tried to organise boycotts of their shows.



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