Circus: ‘We look after our animals’

2013-04-24 00:00

THE evening show of the Brian Boswell circus in Kempton Park was sold out yesterday, despite protests by animal rights activists in Pretoria on Sunday against its use of wild animals.

The protest came after the M-Net programme Carte Blanche aired a video that showed an elephant handler hitting one of the animals in the face with a stick or iron bar.

“People are welcome to come and see how we treat our animals,” Boswell’s daughter, Georgina, said yesterday. “The trainer seen in the video has been suspended and an investigation is under way.”

She said that in December a handler was summarily dismissed after hitting elephants. He apparently did this to make the animals urinate so he could collect the urine and sell it as medicine.

“When the NSPCA told us in January that there was a criminal charge against us over mistreatment of animals, we accepted it was that incident, because they declined to show us the video.

“We were just as shocked as viewers when we saw the insert last Sunday [April 14], because we had not seen it beforehand. However, nothing has yet come of the charges and we are waiting to be informed about what they refer to.”

Boswell said the circus’s website was hacked last week. The cellphone numbers of circus staff had been circulated and they were receiving abusive calls, she said.

“Since January, we have been investigated 17 times by the NSPCA and they have found nothing. People can come and see for themselves what we do.”

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