Animal rights campaigners are urging residents on the Fylde coast to boycott a travelling circus which has begun its annual month-long run in the area.
But Circus Mondao has hit back at claims made Animal Defenders International and says its animals are happy and in excellent condition, regularly passing some of the most stringent checks in the world.
The circus will be based at the same field in Norcross where it has been coming for the last 12 years, remaining there until Sunday, September 2.
As well as a range of human performers, the popular show features acts involving horses, llamas, camels and ponies.
Jan Creamer (inset), president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said: “Animal Defenders International has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of animals in circuses.
“Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of animals in small, mobile accommodation.
“You can help stop the suffering – don’t go to a circus with animals.”
However, Petra Jackson, ring mistress at Circus Mondao, said: “Our animals are not wild creatures like lions or bears, they are social pack animals that are used to working with people.
“They are in excellent condition and their welfare is our top priority.
“Each year we have seven checks, including an un-planned spot check, overseen by DEFRA, and you can even read their latest report online.
“Our horses are doing nothing different from what the local dressage club is doing - should they be banned too? Our camels are in such excellent condition many zoos would be envious.”
She added: “Britain’s Got Talent has revived interest in live shows, and for two years running an animal act won because people could see they loved working with their owners, just like ours do.”