Protesters picket circus

PATRONS at the McLaren Circus were greeted by a group of demonstrators carrying anti-animal cruelty placards on Tuesday. The protesters consisted of 20 women and children who braved the wet Bay weather in aid of animal rights.

Karien van Schalkwyk, 32, said she was there to represent the animals as they could not speak for themselves.

“No person’s cheap entertainment is worth the confinement of lions and tigers and animal handlers flicking whips towards these animals,” Van Schalkwyk said.

The women demonstrate each day in small groups to avoid having to get official permission to protest and to reach more people.

Circus-goers watched as the demonstrators handed out leaflets explaining why people should not support circuses. Some stopped to hear the women out while others ignored them.

Ashley Head and Zoë le Roux, both 11, were among the younger protesters yesterday.

“Animals should be free to roam in the wild,” the young animal lovers said.

Fiona Richard, 52, said she was there to create awareness and to advocate that permits should not be granted for animals to be used in circuses.

“I strongly object to seeing animals living in captivity. It can’t be humane.”

Circus owner David McLaren said the protesters had no permit to demonstrate outside the circus and were an annual sighting.

“These demonstrators are intimidating my customers and those who love the circus and want to see the animals,” McLaren said.

“Every year when we come to Port Elizabeth we are greeted by the same protesters, so much so that we even know their names by now,” he said.

But McLaren insisted that the circus complied with all safety regulations and said the animals were in excellent condition. “Everything is above-board here. We are complying with all the animal laws in South Africa and we are against animal cruelty,” he said.

The Herald Citizen of the Year finalist Linda-Louise Swain, 54, also demonstrated, saying that the most successful circus in the world, Cirque Du Soleil, did not have animal acts

“The rest of the world is doing likewise and South Africa needs to do the same.

“We don’t have to see animals being tortured for our own amusement,” Swain said.  – Nomazima Nkosi

4 thoughts on “Protesters picket circus

  • March 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Animals at circuses could maybe just be pets, like dogs.

  • March 24, 2016 at 9:26 am

    The protesting is not so much the treatment of animals at the Circuses, but using the animals for people’s amusement.
    Animals in captivity would be safe from hazards in the wild, like predators, and not forgetting human activities like poaching, game hunting, run over by cars, and so on. There’s also the animals being in a Noah’s Ark, with the flood this time being of people. I have seen a lion and lioness jump a gemsbok calf, taking it away from its parents, at Etosha in northern Namibia. Not pleasant.
    But still, the animals in captivity don’t have to be at circuses. I recently saw an Australian Circus, at Grand West Casino, at Cape Town. It never had animals, yet was still enjoyable. Just shows. I also disagree about a circus by definition having to have animals. (That Australian Circus incidentally also had motorbikes in that globe. That included 4 going around, with the bottom half lowered for a few seconds. Even better than McLaren Circus.)
    In September 1989, in West Berlin, I saw a very good American Circus. I had also seen it on TV, in ‘Circuses of the World’, I think it was. I thought it would be good to have that circus in South Africa (after April 1994 of course). It was apparently shut down due to animal abuse. I thought also that some animal acts, of some circuses, can have artificial and mechanical substitutes.

  • January 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    “Circ de soleil” is not a circus. By definition, a circus contains ANIMALS.

  • January 2, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    “Animals should be free to roam in the wild”.Have these people ever been to a game park and seen a lion jumping on an innocent animal and eating it whilst it is still alive! Have they been to Cape Town and seen a shark biting through the live seal! An animal is better off in a circus or Zoo or Dolphinarium where it is well fed and attended to by vets if ill. you people with your silly placards are a bunch of total idiots!


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