Anti-zoo activists to sleep in cage
They have slept in coffins to highlight the plight of residents in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas affected by crime, and now a group of Khoi and San activists will sleep in an animal cage in protest against what they say are animal rights violations at the East London zoo.
At the forefront of the unconventional protest is ANC MPL Christian Martin.
Martin said the cage would be installed at the Beacon Bay retail park, about 9km from the zoo, on Sunday.
Fellow Khoi and San activists Crawford Fraser, Joseph Kreeling and Melvin Smith will also take part in the demonstration, along with animal rights activists from the lobby group Ban Animal Trading.
“When we became aware of how the animals are being [allegedly] treated at the zoo, we had to do something.
“Remember when it comes to the Khoi and San people, we are one with nature and we believe that wild animals don’t belong in cages,” Martin said.
“We believe the animals must be allowed to roam freely, in their natural habitat – this whole notion of a zoo is completely outdated.
“The other thing is animals, or any other living being, in cages reminds us of what Sara Baartman had to go through.”
Baartman was exhibited as a freak-show attraction in 19thcentury Europe due to her large buttocks.
“And we don’t condone that, just as we don’t condone animals in cages. Like Baartman, these animals are merely being used and abused to generate revenue,” Martin said.
Kreeling, who was part of the team constructing the structure for the cage sleep-in on Friday, said he was totally against animals in cages.
“You will sometimes find that the cages are far too small.
“For instance, the eagle can’t fly properly in its cage [and] we also saw the jaguar’s movements were restricted in the cage, so, as a Khoi-San, I’m totally not in agreement with animals in cages,” Kreeling said.
The group called on churches to support their cause.
Martin said they would hand in a petition to the speaker of the provincial legislature, Noxolo Kiviet.