DEEP shame on the Wycombe district councillors who last week voted to allow animal circuses to rent council land.

It was in the eyes of many a step back towards the darker days when bull or bear baiting, dog fights, cock fights were all part of animal abuse or exploitation.

We used to have dancing bears too being moved from town to town.

Very regularly carting elephants and big cats, for instance, in trailers between town recs and village greens is a wretched business.

Most circuses in Britain have long given up using animals partly because of public opinion after welfare campaigns.

When the animals are not being transported they are usually tethered or closely confined at the circus site.

A few weeks ago, there were TV and press photos of the elephants in one of the former British touring circuses shackled round their ankles with chains so they could hardly move.

Elephants, bears and big cats deserve to be able to roam free in either their countries of origin or, just possibly, in a decent roomy zoo.

They should not be made to perform tricks. Training methods have also been controversial.

There is ample evidence gathered over many years that most of these animals suffer from stress.

Let these councillors confine themselves to improving – or at least maintaining – amenities in the Wycombe district.

That is what they were elected to do – not venture into very controversial decisions on circuses.

I read that most other councils in Britain have not made this awful decision.

Geoff Perfitt, Oaktree Close, Tylers Green.