PROTESTS are expected to greet an animal circus which is coming to Bradford with campaigners planning to dress up as imprisoned zebras in a bid to keep people away from the big top ticket box.

But Antony Gribbin, owner of Leaventhorpe Hall in Thornton, has insisted Circus Mondao will take place on his land on Friday despite calls from animal welfare campaigners for people to boycott it.

Campaigners in Bradford & Calderdale Animal Friends ("BCAF") say they will be dressed as zebras in striped prison suits shackled by balls and chains outside the circus on its opening night.

BCAF chairman Susan Fawcett said: "A circus cannot provide for anything resembling animal's physical, social, behavioural and psychological needs.

"Keeping wild animals permanently confined and carting them from venue to venue is literally giving them a life on the chain gang."

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has also joined in the row, calling on people to avoid Circus Mondao.

Its president Jan Creamer said: “Time and again ADI has revealed the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses and documented the unnatural lives they are forced to lead. Wild animals do not belong in the circus and a national ban prohibiting their use has been promised. Until the law is passed we urge local to help stop circus suffering and avoid Circus Mondao.”

But Mr Gribbin described the Circus Mondao as a wonderful show, saying it was no different to any agricultural show.

"I've heard nothing from any animal rights people yet," he said.

"Last year I was bombarded with letters, texts and e-mails wanting it cancelled. Who knows what will happen this week but I simply won't back down to animal rights.

"We live in a democratic society. It's my right as the owner of this property to hold whatever event I wish whether it's a circus, horse show, cat show, dog show - I will do what I wish."

He added: "The circus is no different to an agricultural show.

"These circus animals are looked after second to none. The vet regularly checks then and there is no cruelty at all. If there was, I would not have them on my property. These animal rights people need to get back in their box."

Mr Gribbin said it will be the fifth year Circus Mondao has come to Leaventhorpe Hall and he hopes it will keep on coming.

The circus is coming to Thornton one week earlier than planned after a show in Calverley was cancelled.

When the Telegraph & Argus contacted Circus Mondao, a spokesman for the show said she could not comment on the cancellation because of legal issues which were in the hands of the police.