THE ring mistress of a circus criticised by animal rights campaigners for using live horses, camels and goats in its performances has vowed: "We have nothing to hide".

Circus Mondao, visiting Northallerton this week, has been slammed by the Captive Animals' Protection Society (Caps), which has called for thrill-seekers to boycott the show.

Campaigners say the circus is one of just seven touring shows that still uses animals.

The circus, which has recently visited Thirsk and Whitby, uses dozens of animals, including llamas, rabbits and dogs.

Ring mistress Petra Jackson says the animals are well looked-after by circus staff.

She said: "The RSPCA inspectors can come and have a look around whenever they like.

"We have got nothing to hide.

"Animal welfare officers have visited us in the past, and never found anything wrong."

Ms Jackson said she believed that circuses were being unfairly singled out by animal rights groups.

She said: "We travelled from Thirsk to Northallerton, which is about eight miles.

"Our horses will have been in their boxes for no more than two hours.

"What about the horses that have been taken to China for the Olympics?

"How long must they have been kept in horse boxes for.

"People need to look at the wider picture. Animals are transported every day.

"We love our animals and we want to them off, show people how talented they are.

"Yes, there is a certain amount of discipline involved, but it is no different to people training their domestic pets to fetch, for example."

A Caps spokesman said: "With so many excellent animal-free circuses now touring, the days of transporting animals from town to town is becoming a thing of the past.

"Opinion polls consistently reveal that the public opposes the confinement, transportation and training methods used by animal circuses.

"It is time to end the outdated practice of forcing animals to perform for our amusement, particularly when there are lots of high-quality circuses that rely entirely on human skills.

"In the 21st Century, there can be no excuse for continuing to allow the treatment of animals in this way."

Circus Mondao is performing at Northallerton Rugby Club, in Brompton Road, from Wednesday until Sunday. For tickets, visit or call 07722-791777.

For more information about Caps, visit