ANIMAL rights activists staged a “vile” protest which left families with young children devastated.
Activists “looking for a fight” targeted a circus shouting insults to families as they arrived.
Circus bosses said activists destroyed the carnival atmosphere at Circus Mondao near Blackpool, UK, and destroyed the occasion for children.
Circus ring mistress Petra Jackson said that organisers were aware of the protest would happen but were not prepared for the torrent of verbal abuse directed at the visitors.
She said: “The protesters were “vile”.
“It was disgusting what they were saying. We had complaints, with people asking if we could move them on.”
The Mondao Circus has horses, pigeons, a camel, zebra and two reindeer.
It is one out of just two circuses in the UK still using animals for entertainment.
Ms Jackson added: “The days of bears walking across tightropes and tigers leaping through fiery hoops are firmly in the past. Our animals are not mistreated but constantly we are having to justify ourselves.
“We find comments accusing the animals of being improperly cared for are ‘very upsetting.”
The Circus bosses insist its animals are free to graze wherever possible, and are provided with water, food, hay nets, and comfortable beds and all animal welfare standards are met.
Dozens of messages supporting the circus were left on a Facebook live video showing how the animals are kept. Jo Cunningham said: “We always come every year to see the circus.
“I think your animals are beautiful and obviously very well looked after.”
And Linda Rowe said she was invited to see the animals after a show last year: “They were in first class pens with plenty of room to move around.”