MARISSA BRITS

A protest against animal cruelty was held on Sunday 28 April outside the Brian Boswell Circus in Kempton Park. It called for circuses to stop using wild animals in shows.

The event saw roughly 150 people from different age groups and cultures gathered outside the circus. Some members of the protest placed chains around their necks while others held up posters which read “Support a circus, support abuse” and “An hour of laughter for a lifetime of suffering”.

Protester Erika Frauendorf said that the use of animals in circuses was a form of torture and that the protesters would not stop until every animal was freed.

This event follows illegal protest action taken by Activists for Animals Africa (AAA) in the previous week. During this event a protester was arrested for assaulting a police officer after mistaking him for a worker from the Brian Boswell Circus. AAA has separated itself from this incident stating that protesters who behave in this manner give the protest a bad name.

Metro police were stationed at the legal AAA protest on 28 April to prevent accidents and Egon Road was closed off. Protesters gathered at the entrance of the circus and chanted “Don’t go to the circus, join the protest” to people driving into the circus grounds. People who drove past the protest hooted in support.

Circus manager Georgina Boswell told Eyewitness News that the circus follows all the necessary procedures when it comes to animals and are visited by the NSPCA on a regular basis. She also stated that activists who were intimidating visitors were bordering on harassment.

The first documentary surrounding the Brian Boswell Circus was released in August 2012 and is called Tigers in Tutus. However publicity and protests were only sparked after a Carte Blanche episode in which the treatment of elephants was highlighted. The episode showed footage of elephants that allegedly belong to the Brian Boswell Circus being severely beaten by their trainers.

The NSPCA has started a petition in which they call for the use of wild animals in circuses to be banned, stating that any animal used in the circus or any form of travelling act is usually subjected to months of travelling in small cages. The petition states that the NSCPA is completely against the confinement of animals and the use of any animal for entertainment purposes. At the time of going to print the petition had close to 7 000 supporters.

AAA stated that they had visited the Brian Boswell Circus and looked at the lioness enclosure which contained eight lions and stated that the enclosure was disgraceful. The AAA further said that the battle against animal abuse was far from over and will not be over until the use of animals in circuses is completely banned.

To show support for the petition go to change.org.

Photos: Marissa Brits

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