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Circus bosses blow their top at council.

Byline: Andrew Jackson ,

Bear-faced cheek Peter Jolly clowns around with Ming the Bear Pictures by Peter Cottle(46734-4-05) OASIS OF FUN Sarah Jane Jolly with the camel

CIRCUS bosses setting up a show in Mirfield today branded Kirklees Council "hypocritical" and accused them of political correctness gone mad.

Bosses at Jolly's Circus, which starts a five-night run in Mirfield from today, are angry that the local authority has barred them from using council land because of their use of animals.

Chris Barltrop, spokes- man for the Jolly family, who have been running the circus for more than 30 years, said: "It is hypocrisy."

The circus's anger centres on the fact that other events using animals, such as seaside donkeys on the streets of Huddersfield, get the blessing of council bosses, while circuses are demonised.

Mr Barltrop said: "It's all about political correctness and the circus is an easy target.

"Kirklees Council is not the only council to have this sort of rule. It occurs in a lot of places.

"But they have other events which involve animals working much harder than they would in a circus."

The family-run show visited Heckmondwike last week and used a private field off Leeds Road.

In Mirfield the circus will again be using a non-council site just off Steanard Lane, near the Ship Inn.

Mr Barltrop said Jolly's Circus took care of all the animals, including a bear, camels, zebras, mules and bulls, in its show.

He added: "If people are going to criticise it would be sensible to criticise in terms of an individual, not all circuses.

"It is discrimination. We are unfortunate that in this politically correct age that circus people are not recognised as an ethnic group."

Mr Barltrop also spoke out against animal rights group attacks on the circus.

He said: "Regularly around Yorkshire we have protesters at the gate. A group seems to follow Jolly's Circus around Yorkshire.

"The fact that there are only 10 or 12 campaigners who turn up shows what the majority of people think."

Mr Barltrop insisted that the animals in the circus were well treated and not taken advantage of.

Clr John Smithson, of Kirklees Council, said the concerns were that animals were ill-treated in circuses and were forced to do unnatural things.

"The donkeys we had in Huddersfield were doing what they have done for hundreds of years, namely carrying people.

"The unnatural use of animals justifies our ban on circuses," he said.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2005
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