Animal rights campaigners are calling for a mass boycott and demonstration over a circus which opens today.

The Great British Circus is in Clacton for three weeks, but its use of animals such as lions, tigers and zebras has sparked outrage.

Jane Williams, of Kirby, is organising a protest and urging a boycott. She said: “As far as I am concerned all these animals live a life of imprisonment.”

Circus director Martin Lacey said that a recent Government report, Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses, settled the animal welfare debate.

“With the publication of the Government report we have conclusive evidence to support our case and to put the animal debate to rest once and for all,” he said.

“Our animals receive the best possible care.”

Mrs Williams added that she wanted people to join the demonstration on Saturday, August 3, at 2pm.

Nigel Brown, Tendring Council’s communications manager, said that under the law the council has no alternative but to licence the Great British Circus.

The circus is at Clacton Airfield, West Road, until Sunday, August 10.