I WAS quite depressed to read your article giving publicity to CAPS (Captive Animals Protection Society) the organisation purporting to "liberate" performing animals in circuses.( Standard, August 16) My wife and I recently took our grandchildren to see Gifford's Circus at Barrington. They were totally captivated by the show, as was the entire sell-out audience of both "townies" and "locals" alike. Had there been the slightest doubt about the well-being of the (few) animals involved my horse owning wife and animal loving grand-children would have been outraged. On the contrary, it was quite evident that, without exception, these animals were much loved and cared for by the proprietors.

True, one of the horses ran round the ring with someone on his back. I may be wrong but I thought this is what horses in this country normally do. True, Totti Gifford walked round the ring with a goose. No, we didn't know why either, but no-one minded, least of all the goose. True, there was a dog, which ran around a bit. Dogs seem to do that.

Of much greater concern was the treatment meted out to the poor clown. He was harassed all evening by the oppressive "constable", who repeatedly showered him with fake water and assaulted him with a rubber truncheon, much to the horror of the (odd) civil-rights minded members of the audience and to the delight of the children. Perhaps the permanently outraged members of CAPS should concentrate their energies on the protection of clowns, an area to which they would feel much greater affinity?

Rather than being propagandised by a single issue group of fanatics, I recommend that the good and sensible people of the Cotswolds go and see this wonderful, quirky and very English gem of a show and judge for themselves whether or not the animals are being abused. I think I know what their conclusion will be.

A M WEIR Quenington