ANIMAL rights campaigners are urging people to boycott Bobby Roberts Super Circus which is due to stop off in Hagley next week.

The circus, which is performing at Hurrans Garden Centre, Kidderminster Road South, West Hagley, from Wednesday March 18 to Saturday March 22, features an elderly elephant plus horses, dogs and a camel.

But national animal rights charity - the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS), which has long been calling for an end to the practice of using animals to perform for the public, is urging people to give the shows a miss.

Craig Redmond, campaign director for national animal rights charity - the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS), said: "People can enjoy circuses without animals being forced to perform.

“Most circuses now feature an all-human cast, removing the need to keep animals confined for long periods, transport them around the country and use hidden training methods to make them perform in the ring.

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

Bobby Roberts Super Circus is one of just a handful that still uses animals.

A few years ago the Sunday Mirror launched an appeal to rescue its 55-year-old arthritic elephant Anne - now the oldest surviving elehphant in Europe - and send her to a sanctuary.

But the circus refused to let her go, saying Anne no longer performs and the circus is her home.

Mr Redmond from CAPS, however, added: “Despite repeated claims by the circus, Anne the elephant is not retired. She may be too arthritic to perform typical circus tricks any more, but she is still transported across the country so people can pay to have their photo taken alongside her. She deserves a real retirement, in a sanctuary with others of her species."

But circus boss Bobby Roberts says: “Anne has not performed for over seven years, but having worked faithfully for me for over 45 years we will now give her every possible care, attention and love for the remainder of her life.

“Anne has the best possible veterinary care for the mild arthritis which affects her hind right leg and our vets have assured us she is not in any pain or distress.

“For Anne to be anywhere other than in the circus - where she is with the humans she knows and trusts together with the circus animals who have become her constant companions - would cause her unnecessary stress and could easily make her lose her life, which would be heartbreaking.

“We are justifiably proud of our animal husbandry; proud also of our quality of performance, of which the animals play only a very small part.”