Camera ban at big top
The owner of a controversial circus has refused to let the Advertiser take pictures of its caged lions and tigers.
The Great British Circus, one of only a few in the country that still uses animals, is due to hold shows at Newark Showground from tomorrow until March 2.
A protest by animal rights campaigners is expected to take place at the showground tomorrow afternoon.
Mr David Best from Nottingham Animal Rights said that campaigners from Nottingham, Sheffield, Lincoln and York would be at the showground to protest about the circus.
The Advertiser visited the site on Wednesday but the ringmaster, Mr Martin Lacey, would not let any pictures be taken while the animals were locked in cages.
He said this was because it gave a negative image of the circus.
This is the first time the Lincoln-based circus has been in Newark and Mr Lacey arrived on Sunday. The animals, which also include a zebra and camels, arrived on Monday.
Other acts that will perform under the big top, which seats 650 people, include a Ukranian clown, jugglers, dancers and trapeze artists.
Mr Lacey said he was a government-registered animal trainer, former zoo director and had more than 40 years’ experience keeping, training and breeding animals.
He said protesters often followed them around the country to try to persuade people to boycott their shows.
He said after about two years of research, a Defra report published in October concluded there was no scientific evidence to demonstrate that travelling circuses were not compatible with meeting the welfare needs of non-domestic animals presently being used in the UK.
“We have been vindicated. There is no case to answer. We are doing nothing wrong. These people are wasting their time. They are lying to the public.
“Suggestions that circuses are not up to standard are absolutely rubbish. They are complete family entertainment.
“There is nothing more inspected than a circus.
“We move around 25 times a year and we are inspected each time. Stables may only be checked once a year,” he said.
An officer from Newark and Sherwood District Council was due to visit the site and make an inspection this week.