Campaigners have slammed mobile mini zoos operating in the borough, which transport animals to schools and parties for people to pet.

Members of the Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party condemned the use of mobile mini zoos in Chingford, labelling the practice “exploitative”.

A spokesperson for the group said: “It is very disappointing that mobile mini zoos for parties and schools are operating in Waltham Forest. It is an appalling idea and exploitative of the animals.

“Animals should not be carted around to parties to be petted by people –animals will be distressed being handled by strangers – and a party is certainly not the place for exotic animals. It will also encourage people to have these animals as pets and so promote the cruel exotic animal trade.”

The group believes having these zoos in schools sends the wrong message to children that animals are playthings for humans.

The government plans to ban wild animals in circuses across the country going forward and the Greens believe the government should go further and ban mini zoos too.

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party said: “These mini zoos should be banned too – and I would urge people not use companies like this. We need to move to a world where all animals are respected and treated with compassion.”

The owners of one such mobile mini zoo, Get To Know Animals based in Chingford, said: "Directors of Get to know animas Ltd, Donna Rose and Tom Barwick Have lived and dedicated their entire lives to the love, care and support of all of this beautiful world’s natural habitats, animals and creatures.

"There is nothing we are more passionate about and we strive every day to do our very best to try and create harmony, love and understanding between man, beast and nature.

"Over the last few years, we have been rescuing and helping to rehome many uncared for, mistreated and sick animals – saving them from environments where they were clearly miserable and mal-nourished and then introducing them in to the most loving, healthy and happy homes they could ever have.

"Many of the animals that we have rescued have stayed with us and claimed an integral part of our hearts. We do not see them as our pets, they are our best friends, the loves of our lives, our family.

"We want to share and indeed, spread the love and joy that these magnificent creatures bring with everyone.

"By introducing people (of all ages) to our well cared for, happy and loving animals, we aim to reignite a magnificent spark of care and adoration into the community, for all of life’s beautiful creatures. Encouraging people to be more thoughtful towards living creatures, to conquer people’s fear of animals and instead turn that in to well deserved respect for them."

They explained all of their animals were cared for with the best quality food, habitats and vetinary care available and do not allow any animals that would become stressed by handling to be handled.

They added they are categorically against keeping "wild" animals in captivity and all of their creatures are born and bred in the UK as domestic animals and have been rescued.

A spokesman for Waltham Forest Council explained mini zoos currently operating in the borough are not licensed by the authority as they are based outside the borough.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy council leader and cabinet member for the environment, said: “It is the responsibility of the authority where the animals reside that the proper licences and inspection regimes are in place and to ensure that they are cared for and their well- being is being addressed.

“It is for parliamentarians and government to address and legislate the concerns that have been raised.”