A CIRCUS has invited MPs who want to ban animals from performing to take a behind-the-scenes look at how they are treated.

The invitations to watch training, husbandry, and the show at the Great British Circus were sent out following a vote in the House of Commons, where MPs supported banning animals from circuses.

MPs defied the wishes of the coalition Government, which wanted to introduce a strict licensing system for anyone wanting to use animals in their shows.

Wendy Morgan, a member of Southend Animal Aid, said: “To train animals, circuses start their treatment from when they are babies and it is wrong to cage them anyway.”

The circus is due in Rochford in August for a three-week stay and last month animal rights campaigners called on people to boycott it.

Colchester Lib-Dem MP Bob Russell, who helped to make sure a parliamentary motion went to the vote, urged his constituents not to go when the circus visits Stanway from July 19 to July 24.

He has declined to take up the circus’s offer. The circus was criticised in 2009 when footage showed elephants being hit with sticks during a tour elsewhere in the country.

Mr Russell said: “I hope the people of Colchester will have the good sense not to go to this animal circus. Instead, I hope they will support the all-human circus from the Netherlands, which will also be coming to Colchester during July.”

Martin Lacey, owner of the Great British Circus, said: “We set ourselves a very high standard in all aspects of the show.

“We have consistently won awards for the care and welfare of our wonderful animals.”