They call themselves animal warriors and they are fighting to stop the use of animals in circuses in South Africa. Mainly the warriors are women, moved to demonstrate outside circus tents because of cases of horrific animal abuse by circuses.
They frequently face aggression and abuse from circus owners and workers and complain that the police often threaten to arrest them, even though they are breaking no laws.
They travel long distances to try and ensure that no circus performance goes unprotested. They have met with some success; Brian Boswell, owner of Brian Boswell’s Circus has been forced to withdraw elephants from his circus after horrifying video appeared of the animals being abused. However, Boswell continues to force other animals to perform and other circuses still use elephants in their shows. The animal warriors have vowed to continue the protests until the South African government bans the use of animals in circuses.
Adding Our Presence
Network For Animals has joined forces with the animal warriors and supports their protests. NFA’s African director, David Barritt, records that he has personally witnessed law enforcement officials standing by and doing nothing while a circus parking attendant encouraged motorists to drive into protesters and another tried to steal the demonstrators posters.
“I have the greatest respect for these men and women; it takes real courage to stand there peacefully while they face verbal abuse and intimidation,” he said. “Network For Animals stands shoulder-to-shoulder with them and we join their protests and support them in any way possible.
“They are fighting to stop the cruelty that is always involved in training animals for circuses. Whippings and beatings form an integral part of the training and handling because in order to make an elephant, for example, perform tricks the spirit of the animal has to be broken. The trainers literally beat and whip the animals into submission, while they are chained up.”
At a recent protest, an employee of McLaren Circus, which still uses lions and tigers, was arrested and charged with assaulting Toni Brockhoven, South African national chairman of Beauty Without Cruelty. He appeared in court today and will appear again on February 12, 2015.
Join The Protest
Saturday February 15, 2015, the animal warriors will be demonstrating at the McClaren Circus in Table View Cape Town. Network for Animals ask all supporters with contacts in the area to join the protest and raise awareness of the brutality behind this outdated relic of the entertainment industry.
Sign The Petition
For those unable to attend, we ask you to sign our petition to Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, encouraging her to veto further permits to circuses using animals.