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McLaren Circus owner accuses SPCA of 'witch hunt' against him following warning

29 March 2022 12:47 PM
Tags:
SPCA
Cape of Good Hope SPCA
Animal rights
McLaren circus
David McLaren

Morning Review host Lester Kiewit chats to McLaren Circus owner David McLaren and Toni Brockhoven from Beauty Without Cruelty SA.
  • The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has issued a warning to McLaren Circus after conducting an inspection at their Muizenberg venue on Monday
  • Over 100 animal rights activists staged a protest over the weekend, objecting to the use of animals in circus acts
  • The travelling circus also featured on the current affairs show Carte Blanche on Sunday, highlighting the concerns of various animal rights groups
  • McLaren Circus owner David McLaren says the Cape of Good Hope SPCA is leading a witch hunt against him and his business

SPCA inspectors conducted an inspection at the McLaren Circus in Muizenberg on Monday 28 March 2022. Image: Cape of Good Hope SPCA

"This is a total witch hunt. They are looking at everything to smear me and make me look bad. This is an attack on my business."

That's what the owner of McLaren Circus has to say in response to the warning issued to the circus by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA cited McLaren Circus with a warning for at least six contraventions of the Animal Protection Act this week.

The animal welfare organisation conducted an inspection at the big top in Muizenberg on Monday and found several concerns, including unhygienic enclosures and cages that had a putrid smell.

RELATED: SPCA cracks down on Monkey Town over animal welfare contraventions

In a statement, the SPCA expressed concerns about the lack of environmental enrichment for the animals, particularly the Lions and Bengal Tiger.

The group also flagged the lack of drinking water for a female lioness, the poor dental care of three French Poodles, and an evident fly problem as some of the issues that need to be addressed.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA, which is opposed to wild animals in circuses, says the contraventions must be remedied within 48 hours and others within seven days, or McLaren Circus could face prosecution.

RELATED: Uproar over SA's only travelling circus using wild animals as show arrives in CT

Meanwhile, circus owner David McLaren says the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and other animals rights groups are out to get him.

McLaren claims the SPCA has been financing the campaign against his circus for many years.

He says over 2,000 Cape Town spectators came out to watch his show over the weekend, despite the media frenzy following a protest on Saturday and the Carte Blanche segment on Sunday.

The SPCA, especially the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, have a witch hunt after me. They have been for years trying to nitpick and find fault with my circus to continue the fear campaign against my circus because they are also opposed to the use of animals in circuses.

David MacLaren, Owner - McLaren Circus

The animal rights movement is going to do nothing but smear me and make me look bad. They are trying everything in their power to stop my circus. They are also very upset that people do support the circus.

David MacLaren, Owner - McLaren Circus

Why would I deny a lioness access to water? Common sense tells you, if you do not supply an animal with water and food, they will suffer and die. Why would I withhold water from an animal?

David MacLaren, Owner - McLaren Circus

Animal rights organisations such as Beauty Without Cruelty have been opposed to the use of of wild animals in circuses for several years.

The McLaren travelling circus is the last South African circus to still feature live animals in its shows.

Beauty Without Cruelty chairperson Toni Brockhoven says wild animals should not be performing for human benefit.

She says the animals live an unnatural life in captivity, travelling in cages and blocked from performing their natural behaviours.

The idea is to create public awareness about the fact that it is unacceptable to have animals in the circus in this day and age.

Toni Brockhoven, National Chairperson and Spokesperson - Beauty Without Cruelty

We get to go home after the show, the animals get a cage... We don't have anything against the circus... This is not about the people, it's about the fact that they have animals in the circus.

Toni Brockhoven, National Chairperson and Spokesperson - Beauty Without Cruelty

Given the choice, no animal would choose to live a totally unnatural life in captivity, regardless of the kindness or any treatment. And certainly, no animal would choose a life that allows non of their natural behaviour.

Toni Brockhoven, National Chairperson and Spokesperson - Beauty Without Cruelty



29 March 2022 12:47 PM
Tags:
SPCA
Cape of Good Hope SPCA
Animal rights
McLaren circus
David McLaren

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