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October 17, 2005
Angry protest over Jolly's circus animals
FAMILIES off to the circus were met by animal
rights activists urging them to stay away.
Campaigners representing the Captive Animals' Protection Society waved their placards and banners as people queued to buy tickets for Peter Jolly's Circus when it came to Brighouse and Denholme Gate Road, Queensbury, for a four-day stay.
But the circus owners said they know how to care for the animals properly.
Jolly's has llamas, ponies, camels, a zebra, baby crocodiles and snakes. And the big top is home to the country's only performing bear - 23-year-old Ming.
Protester Sue May, of Bradford, said: "We're here because we want to see circuses without animals.
"We hope that people will think twice about visiting a circus with animals or appreciate the protest even if they go in.
"People have the fortune of walking away if they don't like it - animals don't."
Ten-year-old Laura Powles, of Huddersfield, said: "I think animals should be kept in the wild because they're not toys we can play with."
Joy Morris, of Stump Cross, Halifax, said it was unethical.
"They don't do this kind of thing naturally. I don't see why people want to see animals doing pathetic tricks when they could watch wildlife programmes to see animals doing what they do naturally.
"It's old fashioned and barbaric. Animals are not here to entertain us."
Peter Jolly's Circus is a traditional family-run business. Julie-Ann Jolly, 29, is an expert knife thrower, wire-walker and trapeze artist who works alongside foot-juggling sister Sarah-Jane Jolly, 24.
Peter, 31, is the circus ringmaster and his 56-year-old father, also called Peter, works with the animals.
The show's performers also include Sparky the clown and 30-year-old rope-spinner Andrew Wild.
Peter Jolly junior said: "Our attendances are very good, mainly because we're an animal circus. We have something here you won't find in the average farmer's field.
"If you did a poll, most would say animals should not be in circuses. But those who come and see for themselves vote differently. People change their minds because they can see we look after them.
"The average person on a council estate can't afford to go to Canada to see a bear. This is their only chance."
Peter senior said: "I've got a wealth of knowledge about the animals in my care.
"The protesters need to come and see for themselves. Everyone that comes here has nothing but praise for the circus and condemnation for the animal rights campaigners.
"People don't understand that our animals all have names and are part of our family."
Susan Middlemiss, of Ashlar Grove, Queensbury, visited Jolly's with her daughters Elizabeth, Sophie and Anna.
She said: "I don't approve of animals being kept in confined spaces but we've seen the animals grazing in the nearby fields. They are obviously being looked after."
Eleven-year-old Anna also said: "I like circuses because of the tricks the performers do. I wouldn't be able to see some of these animals unless they were in a zoo so it's a good way of seeing them."
Chad Holdsworth, of Wilsden, Bradford, went with his daughter Paige, seven. He said: "I don't know what goes on behind the scenes but they could be treated like any other animal in a zoo."