The show is set to open with a view of England as a “green and pleasant land” with cricketers playing on a village green and featuring 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine gees, 70 sheep and three dogs.

The six groups – Animal Aid, Animal Defenders International, Captive Animals Protection Society, Compassion in World Farming, Peta and Vivaa– have written to Boyle to convince him to change his mind about using the animals in the live show, stating that he made be liable to prosecution under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act which forbids causing undue distress to animals.

Being paraded out in front of 80,000 spectators in the flashing, noisy Olympic Stadium, is likely to be a less than relaxed atmosphere for the animals. And that’s without even considering the pressures of performing for the cameras in front of the expected billion people that comprise the global audience!

Photo: Getty.