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An animal rights group has called for a boycott of a circus heading to Finsbury Park because of its use of performing animals.

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Zippo’s Circus, which arrives today (Thursday), is one of only eight of its kind to continue to use animals – in this case horses and budgies – and the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) is set to stage protests outside.

CAPS director Liz Tyson said: “We strongly believe that a life of constant transportation, confinement and repetitive unnatural performances is no life for any animal and we would encourage families to choose one of the fantastic all-human shows to get their circus fix this year.”

But Chris Barltrop of Zippo’s Circus, which will be in Finsbury Park until Tuesday, insisted the animals enjoy a good life. He said: “We value the welfare of animals, rather than talking in terms of rights – but it is important to discuss these things.

“The circus is constantly praised for the way the animals are kept. Our stables are designed in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation.

“We travel very short distances and the animals are boxed at the last possible time and are let out as soon as we arrive. The general public compliment us all the time on how we treat the animals.”

The CAPS society and other campaigners are set to rally outside the circus this evening and on Saturday.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said: “Only domesticated animals can be used in circuses in Haringey. The welfare of animals is a great concern to the council.

“When the circus comes to town, City of London vets are commissioned by the council to check on the animals as soon as they arrive and to revisit during the course of the show. Council officers also make checks. “

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