A COUNCILLOR whose political party and local authority support bans on animal circuses has come under fire after a show was set up on land owned by her husband.

The Captive Animals' Protection Society (Caps) is asking Councillor Caroline Seymour to explain why the circus is using a field at her home, White House Farm, near Stokesley, North Yorkshire.

Peter Jolly's Circus, which set up in the field last Wednesday and finished yesterday, features the country's last performing bear.

Caps campaign manager Craig Redmond said Coun Seymour, a prominent Liberal Democrat on Hambleton District Council, which has banned animal circuses from its land, had failed to reply to his messages.

He said: "Although private landowners are legally allowed to rent land to animal circuses even if those shows are banned from council-owned land, we would like to talk to Mrs Seymour about why such a circus is using her family's property," he said.

Coun Seymour declined to comment yesterday and her husband, John, said she could not remember the vote, about five years ago, which banned animal circuses on council-owned land.

However, national Liberal Democrat policy calls for a ban on circus animals, except horses and dogs.

Mr Seymour defended the circus taking place on his land.

He said: "It is my farm and Caroline is not involved in anything on the farm. I had no reason to ask her about it. It was my decision, not hers."

He said he had inspected the circus animals and found them healthy and content.

"I have been a farmer all my life and the animals there are in absolutely superb condition," he said.

Darlington-born Peter Jolly, owner of the show and a member of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' animal welfare committee, said: "We know that the landowner's wife is a councillor, but it is up to the landowner himself whether to allow the circus to use his land."

His animals were inspected by welfare authorities wherever the circus travelled and had always received a clean bill of health.

Hambleton council chief executive Peter Simpson said: "This circus is on private land and the council therefore has no jurisdiction over its use for this activity."