A row over animal cruelty erupted this week as a travelling circus act reached its climax in the Dearne.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) urged residents to boycott Circus Mondao at Highgate Greyhound Stadium, near Thurnscoe.
But the circus organisers have rubbished animal cruelty claims and maintained the animals they work with, including zebras, camels and reindeer, are well looked after.
Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI, said: “Animals with travelling circuses are on the road for almost the entire year. That means they have to endure constant transportation and live in rudimentary, temporary accommodation.
“Many people contact ADI and say they went to the circus not realising they would be watching miserable animals. We urge people in Thurnscoe to visit circuses with human only acts – those acts have a choice.”
Cicrus Mondao attracted several hundred spectators to each performance over the weekend.
Ring mistress Petra Jackson said the circus is legally licensed by the government and is subject to inspections by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
She said: “We always pass our inspections and the vehicles the animals are transported in are Defra approved. The boxes are tailored to suit the needs of all of the animals we work with.
“All of our animals are exceptionally well looked after and cared for.”
She added: “Our performances are very popular, we have been getting about 300 people at each one. It is a family friendly show and we always get excellent reviews from people who have been to see it.”
Nobody at Highgate Greyhound Stadium was available for comment as the Times went to press.
A spokesperson for Barnsley Council said the circus would not need the authority’s permission as the stadium is on private land.
He added: “The authority understands this can be a controversial issue but if the circus has a Goverment permit then that gives them permission to operate.”