Call for circus ban as trained animals come to Hitchin

ANIMAL rights activists are holding a protest outside a big top to try to convince people not to go to a circus that uses trained animals. For the second year running, North Herts Vegetarians And Vegans (NHVV) are calling for a boycott of the Bobby Robe

ANIMAL rights activists are holding a protest outside a big top to try to convince people not to go to a circus that uses trained animals.

For the second year running, North Herts Vegetarians And Vegans (NHVV) are calling for a boycott of the Bobby Roberts Circus which began performances yesterday (Wednesday) until Sunday in Hitchin. They also want North Herts District Council (NHDC) to ban circuses with animals in the district.

The show includes performing horses, ponies and dogs, as well as an appearance by Europe's oldest elephant, Anne, who has been with the Roberts family for over 50 years, but has not performed for ten.

Ross Watkins, NHVV spokesman said: "Last year we held a protest against the circus which was well received by local residents and we intend to show that there is the same strong feeling against animal circuses in North Herts.


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"We have asked NHDC to refuse to allow animal circuses to perform in North Herts and to follow other local authorities which do not permit animals to be used for entertainment on council owned property. This has so far been ignored and we would like local people to ask their councillors why NHDC feel it is acceptable to allow council land to be used in such a manner."

But Moira Roberts, wife of owner Bobby, said they were doing nothing wrong: "We have nothing to hide. When the people of Hitchin don't want us to come they'll tell us with their feet.

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"Bobby is exceptionally well known for his animal husbandry. The animals are part of our family.

"These people think because we are a commercial business we are exploiting them. We are not doing anything illegal. We want to be regulated. We don't want the old fashioned ideas." A spokesman for the council said: "Our policy is not to oppose circuses and fairs, provided the operator holds appropriate licences and complies with legislation. The Bobby Roberts Circus does meet those requirements. The application was reviewed by the safety advisory team, which includes members from all the public authorities involved. No issues were identified and there were no objections to the visit. The animals have been visited by our animal welfare officer and no issues have been found.

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