SPCA calls for ban on usage of animals in circuses

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Alzane Narrain

The National Council of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has called for support from the public to sign a petition to bring about the complete ban of the usage of animals in circuses in South Africa.
The SPCA had criticised the treatment of animals in South African circuses after the British government’s announcement that the use of wild animals in circuses over there will be banned from December 2015.
Ainsley Hay, national spokesperson from the SPCA, believes South African circuses should follow in the footsteps of the other countries throughout the world that have prohibited wild animals from performing in circus acts.
"It’s amazing to see that other countries are able to do this and I think that South Africa is also able to follow suit. We urge any caring members of the public to join us in signing this petition to hopefully bring about the ban," she said.
According to Hay circus animals are forced into barren, cramped enclosures and are on road for extended periods. They do not have enough space to show natural behaviour such as feeding and social needs and these needs are not met in a circus environment.
"They are trained and forced to perform unnatural novelty tricks to entertain people. These animals have absolutely no conservation or educational message and are there for fun. Exploiting wildlife in that sort of way should not be acceptable in this day and age", says Hay disapprovingly.
However, the circus industry isn’t the only one that is being criticised for the appalling treatment of animals.
The national SPCA has laid criminal charges against Brian Boswell’s Circus after receiving video footage on national television of one of the circus’s elephants allegedly being beaten.
Personnel of the Brian Boswell’s Circus couldn’t be reached before deadline. On the Boswell’s Circus website they state that animal care is important to them, because
“the animals are an integral part of the circus and are treated as part of the family. Their well-being is of utmost importance. Careful attention is paid to their diets. They get the best food and care. They are groomed, exercised and have their enclosures cleaned daily. Animal keepers and trainers are never far from their charges 24 hours a day. We spend far more time with our animals than the average working person is able to spend with his or her pets.”

alzane@centralmediagroup.co.za