CIRCUS bosses have welcomed new rules aimed at stopping animals from performing in Tendring.

Lawrie Payne, an animal rights campaigner and councillor, put forward a motion calling on Tendring Council to do what it could to ban all circuses with animals from performing in the area.

It was feared a ban could have been illegal, so the authority has drawn up an animal welfare charter, which will make it harder for circuses with animals to perform.

The motion comes after a groom working at the Great British Circus was filmed hitting an elephant with a metal pole by the Animal Defenders International group earlier this year. The groom was sacked.

The circus went on to perform in Colchester and Clacton.

Chris Barltrop, of the Great British Circus, said he is looking forward to bringing the circus back to Clacton next year, and he is pleased Mr Payne is calling for strict regulations.

He said: “After animal rights allegations, many people have come to believe that circuses are inherently cruel and unsuitable. My experience in the circus world shows me that’s not the case.

“If an individual within the circus industry treats animals inappropriately, they can and should be prosecuted. The same laws apply to circuses as apply to farmers and pet owners.

Circuses, in general, do have high standards. To tar us all with the same brush is unfair and discriminatory.”

Tendring Council’s new charter, which is due to come into force on January 1, will state no circuses or travelling shows using animals can be allowed unless they ensure animals have a suitable environment and diet, as well as exhibit normal behaviour patterns, are protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Animal Defenders International said it was delighted with the council’s decision.