A CAMPAIGN to prevent a nationwide circus tour returning to Brighton and Hove while it still uses animals has received support via an online petition.

The petition, started on October 5, has received more than 750 signatures already.

Petition creator Piotr Glodowski said: “Exploiting animals for entertainment is an outdated practice that does not belong in a progressive society.

“Many people may argue that it isn’t exploitation but that’s simply wrong, the circus benefits from the work of the animals and the animals do not have a choice in the matter.”

The circus, which was located on Hove Lawns, Hove, between August 16 and 28, is one of few to continue using animals in its show, which features horses and budgies.

Mr Glodowski said: “Putting a naturally skittish animal in an environment surrounded by lots of noise and bright lights will inevitably cause the animal unnecessary stress.

“Obviously, this is something that is difficult to measure, hence the continued debate, but just because it’s something we cannot easily measure or understand fully in our own terms does not mean it isn’t harmful.”

Julia Knight, a spokeswoman for Zippos Circus, said the petition was “full of inaccuracies and lies”, and spoke of a decision by Brighton and Hove City Council to reject a similar proposal in September 2017.

She said: “We are 100 percent confident in our excellent animal husbandry. We can never see eye to eye with animal rights groups as they do not believe in humans using animals for anything from clothes to food to assisted living animals. We’ll continue to make thousands of visitors happy every year and not let a small vocal minority censor what people should be eating, wearing or watching.”

Zippos Circus also has a section of its website for animal welfare, containing veterinary and animal health inspector reports.

However, Mr Glodowski argued: “While we appreciate the work that the welfare officers and inspectors do, they only assess the animals in isolation and do not factor in the amount of time the animals spend travelling in confined spaces.

“Zippos no longer use images of animals on their posters, could this be because they know the majority of people no longer feel comfortable going to see animals forced to perform for them?”

Mr Glodowski proposed the circus stop their use of animals and said: “We do not have anything against Zippos and we don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, we just do not agree with what they are doing.”