Animal rights’ group in call for boycott of circus

IPSWICH: Campaigners are today calling on families to boycott one of the country’s last animal circuses.

The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) claim that the Bobby Roberts Circus, currently set up at Trinity Park, in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, should no longer be using animals in their performances.

They are especially concerned about Anne, an elderly elephant that is transported around the country with the circus. People also often have their photo taken with her.

CAPS’ campaigns director Craig Redmond said: “We oppose the use of all animals in circuses but Anne’s plight is particularly sad. She has been in the circus over 50 years, being taken from Sri Lanka as a baby at around the same time our charity was founded.

“Despite what the circus claim, in our view Anne is not retired as she is still transported every week with the show.

“Every day that she remains at the circus is one less day in which she could spend in real retirement, enjoying a better life without the travelling and confinement she now has.

“We would encourage people to avoid all animal circuses.”

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Simon Swash, ringmaster at the circus, said: “Anne is retired and is, in essence, a family pet. To take her away from the circus would be cruel.”

He explained that Anne would not actually be appearing in Ipswich this week because of the deteriorating weather conditions.

“It is too cold for her, even in the stables.

“We have tucked her up somewhere warm for the winter.”

Performing ponies and horses, a camel and a Highland cow have been brought to town and will be entertaining crowds at the Big Top over the coming days.

Denying that the animals were forced to perform, Mr Swash, of Snape, said: “Anyone who has a pet will know that they will not do anything they do not want to.

“They are trained through routine and reward, they do not learnt through mistreatment.”

He added: “We are fully licensed and we have vets certificates for the animals, we are also subject to spot checks by the RSPCA.

“They have always been very happy with the way our animals are kept and we have won awards for our animal care.”

Special priced preview shows take place today at 5pm and 7.30pm, and the circus runs until Sunday.

Tickets can be booked on site, by phone on 07860 787745 or you can buy online at

n Are you going to the circus? Tell us what you think of the animals by writing to Your Letters Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively send an e-mail to