A travelling circus that’s in Highbridge this week has defended its use of animals in its shows following concerns from local residents.

As we first reported here, Circus Mondao is set up at the Oaktree Arena and is running shows every day until Sunday.

The traditional circus offers family fun featuring clowns, acrobats, trapeze artists, animal rides and a special ‘wheel of death’ showstopper finale.

Petra Jackson, ring mistress for the circus, says the group is excited to be visiting Somerset for the first time.

However, several local residents have questioned the use of camels, llamas and ponies in the shows.

One resident said on Burnham-On-Sea.com’s Facebook page: “I thought live animals were banned! I won’t be going out of principle!”

Another said: “Unhappy to read circus arriving in town with animals. The sooner the ban on performing animals comes into force, the better.”

Another adds: “I can’t understand why the circus uses still use animals.”

The campaign group Animal Defenders International is encouraging local residents to stay away from the circus, claiming the use of wild animals in performances is “an outdated practice which is overwhelmingly opposed by the public and animal experts.”

But Petra Jackson has defended their use, explaining that the animals have large enclosures, are well looked after, and are a part of their circus family.

It’s also been confirmed this week that Circus Mondao is fully licensed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and receives several inspections by government vets each year to check animal health, welfare, enclosures and safety.

Circus Mondao says that it regularly posts videos of its animals on its Facebook page to ‘be transparent’ and also to show how they are cared for when they are not performing.

The circus also encourages people to visit the stables and meet its animals after the shows.