CIRCUSES with animals could be banned from Tendring unless they adhere to strict new rules.

Animal rights campaigner and district councillor Lawrie Payne put forward a motion calling on Tendring Council to do what it could to ban all circuses with animals from performing in the district.

But it was feared an absolute ban could have been illegal.

The authority has now passed a motion calling on the authority to draw up an animal welfare charter based on that used by Rochford Council, but an extra clause will be added to make it harder for animals with circus to perform in the district.

It states that no circuses or travelling shows using animals can be allowed unless they ensure animals have a suitable environment and diet, as well as exhibit normal behaviour patterns, are protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

“I am extremely pleased that not only have we put in place a mechanism which will hopefully stop circuses using animals on Tendring Council land, but also has implications to stop any circus with animals in the district in the future,” said Mr Payne.

“This is a good day for animal welfare in Tendring.

“It was a positive meeting and I am pleased we nearly had unanimous support.

“Unfortunately it seems the council can’t make a moral decision on this issue, however we have made a practical decision which will work just as well.”

The charter is expected to come into force on January 1.

Chris Barltrop, spokesman for the Great British Circus, previously said the council would not have powers to refuse the circus a licence to perform in the area simply because it used animals.

“The council does not have direct jurisdiction over the land we use – Clacton Airfield – and their only jurisdiction in terms of licensing is about health and safety.

“A council may not refuse to give out a licence based on what is in the show unless there is something illegal.

“Circuses with animals, as long as they are properly run, are not against the law.”