CIRCUS bosses have denied allegations their animals are treated cruelly.

Animal rights protesters claim Circus Mondao, currently performing in Rixton, have been exploiting their animals.

But that is far from the truth, say organisers.

Petra Jackson said: "All our animals are fit and well. It winds me up that these activists say such things when they have never seen the lovely lives the animals have.

"We spend from 7am to 10pm with them - how many pet owners do the same?"

The travelling circus was forced to defend itself after the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) called for a boycott over animals being exploited in the event.

Craig Redmond, campaigns manager for CAPS, said: "CAPS is not opposed to circuses, only to the use of animals, and we would encourage people to avoid those circuses that still use animals and instead visit one of the many excellent circuses that rely only on human skills.

"In the 21st century there can be no excuse for continuing to allow the treatment of animals in this way."

Circus Mondao has two zebras, pigmy goats, mules, donkeys, dogs and rabbits that are used in performances.

Mr Redmond added: "A travelling circus, by its very nature, is totally incapable of meeting all the needs of animals."