An animal welfare campaigner has called for the public to boycott a circus that uses tigers, lions and other animals.

The Great British Circus has been performing in Clacton since Tuesday and will contiue until August 5.

It is one of few circuses that uses big cats. Llamas, zebras, reindeer, goats and horses are also on the bill.

Annette White, a member of North Essex Vegans, called for residents to support charities working to ban animals in circuses instead of buying a ticket.

"A circus is no place for an animal, especially one that is essentially wild," she said.

"When it comes to the large carnivores, such as tigers and lions, there is no way a circus, even with best intentions, could provide the environment such an animal needs."

But ringmaster Martin Lacey said Ms White's views were based on unsubstantiated, emotive rhetoric.

"She attempts to put animal welfare at risk and encourage intolerance by asking people to boycott a circus that has won Best Circus in Britain with Animals three times.

"Luckily, the good people of Clacton vote with their feet in support of our high standards of animal husbandry, preferring to rely on the word of the qualified officials who inspect us."