A petition has been launched calling for Sheffield Council to ban circuses with animals amid claims of cruelty.
The petition, by Sheffield Animal Action, says animals cannot cope with circus environments and is particularly critical of Zippos Circus.
Zippos Circus features horses and birds and says it works closely with DEFRA, local authorities, vets and animal welfare organisations to ensure a “high standard of animal care”.
More than 140 people have signed the petition, started by Alex Hinchcliffe, of Sheffield Animal Action.
Mr Hinchcliffe said: “Zippos Circus is one of a minority of touring circuses in the UK to still use animals as part of their shows.
“We believe the practice of using animals in circuses is unethical, outdated and unnecessary.
“Touring circuses may cover thousands of miles a year and moving location on a weekly basis means circus animals spend most of the year in temporary accommodation.
“The animals may be confined for hours, even days, in their travelling cages, with their only respite being either limited time in an exercise cage, being rehearsed, or performing.
“It is impossible for a travelling circus to provide animals with the facilities they need.
“The RSPCA is against the use of animals in circuses and Animal Defenders International research shows that behaviours demonstrated in all circus animal species are clear indicators that animals cannot cope with the circus environment and are suffering as a result.”
Zippos Circus says it features domestic animals, specifically horses and budgerigars. A spokesman said it was committed to excellence in animal husbandry and strongly oppose any form of cruelty or mistreatment.
“Our circus has featured domestic animals for 23 years and during this time we have been constantly praised for our animal husbandry – and never been charged with animal abuse or mistreatment,” said the spokesman.
”Zippos Circus understands and supports all efforts to monitor and regulate the treatment of animals. All domestic animal acts that perform with Zippos Circus must be in compliance with the Animal Welfare act 2006 and the guidance of local animal welfare officers.
”We strongly disagree with the statement that travelling and performing life is not suited to domestic animals and there is no scientific evidence to back up this statement.
“We look forward to visiting Sheffield again this year and playing to the thousands of local families who derive much pleasure from our circus.”