RESIDENTS of Penarth are being urged to sign a petition to ban all animals in circuses, ahead of a travelling big top stopping in the Vale.

Circus Mondao, a travelling showcase with trapeze artists, clowns, stunts and animals, will stop in the Vale from April 17 to 28.

But a petition has been launched to ban the use of all animals in circuses in Wales, including by Circus Mondao.

“It’s just cruel, forcing animals to behave like that,” said Linda Joyce Jones, who started the petition. “They don’t want to be there, and they’re forced to travel constantly.”

Petra Jackson, the ringmistress, looks after the animals for Circus Mondao.

“We look after the animals in our care,” she said. “We follow stringent government standards and guidelines. We place our animal’s welfare at the top of our list, and they only make up a very small portion of the show.

“They’re not just animals, they’re part of our family. They want for nothing with us.

“They do travel, but its no more intensive than an average commuter bringing along their dog in the car.

“When we pitch up, they stay in large, custom built and comfortable enclosures. We’re staying at a venue in Rhoose rather than Sully this year, because it is a more secluded area which the animals prefer.”

Animal welfare is a devolved issue.

While it is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to fail to provide for an animal properly, a bill will be put forward this year by the Welsh Government to ban wild animals in circuses entirely, though some animals - such as dogs or ponies - are not covered. England will introduce a similar bill in 2020.

A public consultation, carried out in Wales in November 2018 and published in January 2019, found that out of 6,546 responses, 97 per cent of responses were behind a ban on wild animals in circuses.

But a total of 4,019 of these responses were identical, from campaign group Born Free.

More than 200 local authorities in the UK have a ban on animals in circuses, but the Vale council is not among them.