Cricketer Parnell protests cruelty to circus animals

2011-06-23 00:00

CRICKETER Wayne Parnell has set his sights on a new opponent — circuses that force wild animals to perform unnatural and painful tricks.

In a new anti-circus advert for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) Asia-Pacific, Parnell, who plays for the South African national team, appears shirtless and bound by chains next to the words saying, “Try to relate to their fate. Say NO to animal circuses”.

“I choose to participate in sport, but the animals used in circuses aren’t given any choice at all,” said Parnell.

“Animals in circuses suffer a lifetime of abuse — all for a few cheap tricks,” he added.

A press release from Peta said an undercover investigation into Brian Boswell’s Circus by the non-governmental organisation, Public Watch, found that elephants were chained to a trailer by their back legs, sometimes for 19 hours a day.

The investigation monitored elephants being used in the circus in Richards Bay from July 28 to 30, 2008, which were observed over a period of 44 hours, including two full days of continuous monitoring during all daytime hours.

“They were left outside in extreme heat with no shelter and were given water just twice a day.”

The investigation also found that elephants are trained using bullhooks — instruments that resemble a fireplace poker.

Peta explained that circus trainers embed bullhooks into the elephants’ skin and soft tissue, which can create lacerations, puncture wounds and abscesses.

Brian Boswell responded by noting that July is mid-winter and added, “Where is the extreme heat? If the weather is bad they go inside the vehicle.” He said the elephants have access to food and water 24 hours a day.

“A bullhook is a standard piece of equipment that has been used for the last 4 000 years. There are various designs.

“Our elephants are in perfect condition and have regular vet checks. We don’t go about chopping their legs off and sewing them back on,” said Boswell.

For more information, visit www.petaasiapacific.com.

Public Watch is described as an affiliation of over 250 informed South African and international members who “watch” law and policy development and governance in South Africa, and aim to ensure that it is informed, ethical and accountable.

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