Animal rights campaigners hope to sway visitors from going to Zippo's Circus at Brent Cross shopping centre this weekend by hosting a protest outside the doors to the big top.

Around 15 protestors will gather outside the tent on Saturday at 6pm the busiest time for the circus where they will be handing out educational leaflets', jeering and brandishing placards.

The Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) is angered by the circus's use of dogs, horses and budgies in its performances and has called on members of the public to boycott animal circuses.

It says Zippo's is one of seven circuses in the country that still uses animals in its performances.

Paul Thomas, campaigns assistant for CAPS, said: "In the 21st Century, animals should not still be made to perform tricks for entertainment. There are so many excellent all-human circuses that the public can easily see high-class family entertainment that does not rely on the outdated practice of using animals. Animals can suffer in a circus environment and we ask the public to boycott animal circuses."

Chris Barltrop, a spokesman for Zippo's Circus said: "It is unbelievable that people are protesting at the inclusion of lovingly kept horses in a circus. "And Zippo's do not believe that these protesters represent the views of the general public."

Zippo's Circus has performances at Brent Cross shopping centre from Friday until February 19.