PROTESTERS set up outside a circus visiting Colchester to voice their opposition to using animals.

The 25-strong protest marked the Great British Circus’s final performance in London Road, Stanway, following a week-long stay.

The protesters waved brightly coloured placards with calls to “Honk Against Animal Circuses” and “Stop Animal Suffering”.

Campaigner Jane Williams, from Holland-on-Sea, said those attending the protest were all opposed to the use of animals in circuses.

She said: “This is one of the only circuses that uses animals. I think it’s absolutely appalling.

“The animals aren’t volunteers. They’re confined for anything up to 23 hours a day. They’re on the road for up to ten months a year and it’s utter cruelty.

“The tigers live in the confines of 2.5m by 2m. They can just about do three paces and then turn around.

“It’s a prison.”

The circus moves to Clacton Airfield in West Road with a series of performances starting tonight and ending on Sunday, August 8.

Mrs Williams said she was planning further protests tonight, this Sunday and on the last day as well. She added: “They shouldn’t have animals in circuses any more.

“They need to be banished to the history books.”

Last year the circus hit the headlines after it sacked an assistant keeper for beating an elephant.

But it insists the animals are well looked after and point out traditional big top performanses are part of the nation’s cultural heritage.

No one from the circus was available for comment.