Circus charged after elephant abuse video

2013-04-16 09:47

Johannesburg - Charges have been brought against a top South African circus company after shocking footage emerged of elephants being abused.

The cellphone video, broadcast on Carte Blanche on Sunday night, showed Brian Boswell’s Circus employees hitting elephants, causing outrage and huge support for the Boycott Brian Boswell Animal Circus Facebook page, reported the Times Live.

By Tuesday morning, the page had more than 2 660 likes.

Beeld reported that a member of the public had taken the cellphone footage during a training session.

It showed how an elephant handler hit Wankie the elephant with a stick or a piece of steel in the face after the elephant appeared to pick up a garden hose with her trunk to drink water.

"We've always suspected this is the case, but this is finally documented proof," said Ainsley Hay from the SPCA.

Hay said the SPCA was shocked at the cruelty that was shown towards Wankie.

The circus could be fined and lose the animals if found guilty.

Brian Boswell denied that the circus abused its elephants and said the video footage revealed a one-time incident. He said Wankie had been with the circus for more than 30 years.  

The circus employees in the video had been fired, he said.

"It's not in our interest to be cruel or horrible to [the elephants]. Why would you do that? They are expensive."

  • Patricia Bradbury Tee - 2013-04-16 09:54

    I have taken a decision never to go to any circus that have animals, and will never take my grandchildren to any circus that have animals. Shame on you Brian Boswell!

      procold2 - 2013-04-16 10:37

      i agree patricia and his comment at the bottom shows he is only interested in money and not really the welfare of the animal "It's not in our interest to be cruel or horrible to [the elephants]. Why would you do that? They are expensive." take them away spca.

      Nigel Burgess - 2013-04-16 10:58

      I second that. No support from me for any animal circus again.

      dlawre30 - 2013-04-16 11:08

      Yep I am also never attending another Boswell circus

      Gustav Preller - 2013-04-16 11:21

      I think it is about time that the use of animals for entertainment purposes be made illegal.

      julie.groenewald - 2013-04-18 20:29

      Awesome! Hope you guys are at least all vegan! Loving animals means not eating them or dairy too.Keeping animals in factory farms is no different.

  • Erich Goosen - 2013-04-16 10:02

    The sooner we get legislation to prohibit using wild animals in circuses like some overseas countries, the better.

      Foc Us - 2013-04-16 11:10

      Out of principle I will not go to a Circus OR a Zoo ... the concept of a wild animal caged up and manipulated does NOT fit in with the wild spirit of any animal. I do visit game parks as to 'some extent' they have freedom to act out their instincts (I emphasise 'to some extent' as they not totally free either but thats the best under circumstances)

      Rebecca Sepiwe - 2013-04-16 12:42

      @ Foc Us - Having qualms with a circus I can understand and appreciate, I too share this sentiment. The animals are used solely to make money for the owners and live harsh lives, however, I think you are missing the point of zoo's. Sure, I also don't like these mini-zoo's that are all about making the owner lots of money, but proper zoo's are a different story. In case you don't know, Zoo's like the Jo'burg zoo and the Pretoria zoo are government funded and focus primarily on research and conservation of animals. The part which is open to public, displaying animals, is part of a secondary role to educate the public. There are many species of animals and plants that only exist in zoo's and botanical gardens, as they are extict in the wild. Animals like the Arabian oryx only exists in the wild today because of the work done by zoo's. Also, the people who work there go to great lengths to make the animas' lives as pleasant as possible. Please educate yourself on this matter before you make more irrational and emotional comments.

      julie.groenewald - 2013-04-18 21:25

      I pray that one day there will also be legislation to prohibit the use of even land or sea animals as well. All beings suffer equally - whether its a cow in a factory farm, male calves used for veal who never see the day light or chickens / pigs on a massive scale - all animals abused by humans should be stopped. YOU HAVE THE POwER TO START STOPPING this cruelty by going VEGAN, cut out meat and dairy so your money does NoT go towards cruelty and animal abuse on a massive scale, think about it. Brian Boswell can make a case against all who throw stones at them - because buying meat and dairy supports animal factory farms and the cruelty found therein. Where they as a circus have only a few animals they abuse, factory farms commit MASS MURDER and MASS ABUSE --DAILY. Please do not be part of this. Please spend your money on better options, organic fresh fruits and veggies.

  • Sanette Dewet - 2013-04-16 10:03

    "Why would you do that? They are expensive." In this one sentence he has condemned himself in my eyes.....they are expensive?! All about the money then?! What about the pain the elephant suffered, not just in this incident, but for 30 years in a cage, not allowed to live like it is supposed to. You are a disgrace, Brian Boswell!!!

  • Gerald Beer - 2013-04-16 10:03

    So Wankie has been in the circus for 30 years and this is the first time it has happened. Go talk your shyt somewhere else.

      Gerald Beer - 2013-04-16 10:31

      Thumbs down, either you can't read or you believe his story, either way I feel sorry for you.

      Magda Henning - 2013-04-16 11:24

      Yes Gerald, I don't know what it is about this thumbs down idiots. Only thinks of themselves.

      Rimesh Solari - 2013-04-17 04:15

      Its brian boswell giving the thumbs down

  • Ralph Higgo - 2013-04-16 10:04

    Animals in cages? Abuse? Duh!

  • Christon Thoresson - 2013-04-16 10:09

    this is disgusting I will NEVER attend a circus again cannot believe how one can do this, this is a utter disgrace the human race animals should be left in peace

  • Peter Zylstra - 2013-04-16 10:12

    Take away all their animals and give them the maximum fine!

  • John Porter - 2013-04-16 10:16

    Lock those w**nkers up in a cage for the rest of their sorry lives.

  • Wendy Burrows - 2013-04-16 10:23

    30 years of a jail sentence first time this happened - how would you know Brian Boswell, have you been standing there for the past 30 years keeping watch??? and your insulting comment that why would we hit the elephants because they're expensive - THIS JUST SHOWS WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS MAGNIFICENT BEAST - the correct answer would be because they feel pain and fear you total asswipe. Shut this farce down. No more animals at circuses and zoo's, how would you like a lifetime sentence of being dragged around from sh*thole to sh*thole in sh*tty little trailers never living in your normal habitat? Time to change, change for the better for ALL animals. Brian Boswell, SHOVE YOUR FILTHY POX-RIDDEN CIRCUS UP YOUR JACKSIE FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS.

      Jo Davies - 2013-04-16 11:03

      Even if it was the first time (yeah- we all believe that story), one time is too many.

      justsayingagain - 2013-04-16 11:18 go girl. I have nothing to add. We will be judged by the manner in which we treat animals....even as bystanders.

      Belinda Charlton Nee Brown - 2013-04-16 11:34

      wendy, google Lion Park near Ashburton and read what Brian does to the lions he "stores" there. Truly heartbreaking. I was on the receiving end of a very aggressive lion (understandably so) while visiting there a year ago. I was in my car - you arent allowed out - and he attacked my car, jumping up against the back. Got the fright of my life but i totally knew where he was coming from when I found out the lions are kept in small cages and only rotated out into the light of day!!!!!! Disgusting.

  • Elmarie Viljoen Neff - 2013-04-16 10:25

    Poor Wankie!!! I refuse to go to a circus! If I did, I would be supporting the abuse of these animals. I hope they lose the animals and that they are taken to a good home, where they can try to live a normal life. Sies Boswell - you should be ashamed!

  • Stephanie Allessandra Teale - 2013-04-16 10:26

    No animals in the circus ...finished! It should be the law !! I will never go to a circus if there is even a budgie in it!! The End !

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2013-04-16 10:34

    No circus should be allowed to use animals. In this day and age we surely know better. Of course Brian Boswell will deny, only men take responsibility for things they could have prevented.

  • Ren - 2013-04-16 10:37

    They are expensive!!!! Really !!! U insensitive scum. U should abide them cause they animals and have feelings. Brian Boswell u are the clown and should be put behind bars!!

  • Maartins Siphiso - 2013-04-16 10:39

    Don't boycott the circus, charge & fire the culprits (elephant handler)

      Celicia Snyman - 2013-04-16 13:44

      @ Maartins u surely aren't that gullible, this is just the footage they have been able to get,what else and who else is happening when the rest of us is not watching, the entire circus should be shut down.

  • Bart Onderweegs - 2013-04-16 10:42

    Where I live its usually a circus and I'm slapped around for the last 30 years as well. Maybe I can get Carte Blanche to make a clip here.

      Luke Weyers - 2013-04-16 11:08

      You have a choice and ability to change your circumstance. The elephants don't.

  • Gary5 - 2013-04-16 10:43

    Circus has evolved over the years to the type that Circque de Solia is where their acts are more death defying and artistic than animal type shows. Far more enthralling for all and more money is generated .

  • Debbie Dippenaar - 2013-04-16 10:44

    I don't take my children to circuses and will show them this footage so they know exactly why. Brian Boswell denies and says it's a one time thing? BS! Close them down!

  • Lianne Sybesma Barlon - 2013-04-16 10:44

    Hey Brian Boswell, I would love to keep you chained up and beat you with iron rods & sticks in your face for 30 years and see how happy you are after such abuse!!! you are a disgusting excuse for a "human being" !!!!

      Justin Rose - 2013-04-16 10:58

      I will join you, with a hosepipe

  • Alan Gonsior - 2013-04-16 10:46

    Why would we abuse the animals , They are expensive . WTF ! So if they where cheap you would abuse them then.

      Bart Onderweegs - 2013-04-16 10:49

      Good point. He's probably 'written them of', like a vehicle, now he thinks he can do with them as he pleases.

      Vijen Lankesar - 2013-04-16 11:00

      Hey Alan,the real animal is brian boswell & the clowns that work for him.

  • Allison Hurter Marx - 2013-04-16 10:46

    Why WAIT until found guilty???? Take the animals away immediately FFS!

  • Mel Webster - 2013-04-16 10:48

    S/A is a human circus...

  • Phae Rayden - 2013-04-16 10:49

    Close them down now. Anyone still going to a circus is an accomplice to this cruel outdated form of entertainment. Make people do tricks not animals!

  • Victoria Elizabeth Thompson - 2013-04-16 10:50

    "It's not in our interest to be cruel or horrible to [the elephants]. Why would you do that? They are expensive." - so the fact that they are expensive is the reason not to be cruel? What a F***ing idiot!!!! Their monetary worth has nothing to do with why you shouldnt abuse them!!!!!

  • Jaryd Sage - 2013-04-16 10:51

    The BOYCOTT Brian Boswell’s Animal Circus Facebook page is a place where like-minded people can go in order to get information, keep up to date with protests in their area, and spread awareness of the issue at hand. LIKE AND SHARE!

  • Adrian Kohler - 2013-04-16 10:54

    I'm sorry, but by stating... "Why would you do that? They are expensive." Already tells one the mentality with which you are treating these animals.. Costing you money and caring for them are two totally different aspects BRIAN!! I pray that justice be served!

  • Dazza Oliver - 2013-04-16 10:56

    "It's not in our interest to be cruel or horrible to [the elephants]. Why would you do that? They are expensive." No, not that is is inhuman and cowardly. We don't abuse our animals cause it is expensive. That is like saying "I don't kill people cause I don't like jail" No you don't kill people cause it is immoral and wrong.

  • Dazza22 - 2013-04-16 10:58

    "The circus could be fined and lose the animals if found guilty" Could?? Should!! Take them now!!

  • Michelle Jordaan - 2013-04-16 11:01

    Michelle Jordaan Shame on you Boswell Circus!!! Will not encourage anyone to support ANY circus. Hope you pay for this cruelty. Nobody buys your ridiculous comment. You should receive what you have dished out to that poor animal!!!!!

  • Melody de Andrade - 2013-04-16 11:03

    typical to blame in on the employee, like they were not aware of how their handler dealt with their elephants. There is no excuse, Boswell condoned and allowed this to happen, what utter rubbish that they had no knowledge of this. This is not the first time they have been accused of animal abuse. Equally both Boswell and their scapegoat need to feel the backlash of their cruel crime

  • Justin Rose - 2013-04-16 11:03

    Let them, the handlers and management, in the enclosure with the Elephants, roaming free, with no protection and let nature take its course.

  • Denise Visser - 2013-04-16 11:14

    Ban Animals in the circus!!!

  • Daniela Theart - 2013-04-16 11:23

    Will never go to a circus ever again! It's just darn cruel!

  • Mike Grant - 2013-04-16 11:25


  • Lanfear Mierin - 2013-04-16 11:27

    Oh yes, give them a little fine and force them to stop using wild animals in their sick shows! I HATE the circus, its pathetic and anyone who pays to watch it or take their children, are sponsoring animal abuse! The only circus worth watching is something like the Cirque du Soleil, where no animals are used and abused, and who are a member of circus Watch and speak out publically against animal use in circusses. SICK! Circusses must be banned by the law from using animals.

      Rabia Vawda - 2013-04-16 12:11

      It's sad, not everyone thinks like us, and could not be bothered about the abuse, circus should just be banned world wide.

  • Ben - 2013-04-16 11:27

    @Andrew Robert Slaughter: Don't kid yourself into thinking that the animals were happy. I better response would have been to teach your child about what goes on behind the scenes (without showing them any graphic footage). It really is up to us to teach our youth to have respect and love for fellow humans AND animals.

  • Belinda Charlton Nee Brown - 2013-04-16 11:29

    Brian, you are a liar. I know first hand what you do to your lions at the Lion Park near Ashburton. Shame on you, you are a horrid human being who deserves the worst.

  • Juliet Richardson - 2013-04-16 11:31

    Brian Boswell your circus is a joke and so are you! Hope you too can take a beating and then perform after that.... you pathetic idiot!

  • Lauren Ann Flinders - 2013-04-16 11:32

    "It's not in our interest to be cruel or horrible to [the elephants]. Why would you do that? They are expensive." This makes me rage. Animals are not commodities to be bought and sold and there are far better reasons not to abuse an animal other than because it is expensive. This man should be shut down as this statement sums up his attitude to animals full stop.

  • Anthony Mayoss - 2013-04-16 11:49

    come here plonker and ill beat you with a pipe, we will dismiss it as a onetime incident and forget about it..

  • Rabia Vawda - 2013-04-16 11:51

    F this crap, for 30 years to do tricks for ppls amusements breaks my heart, they better not get off easy with this, circus should be banned all over their world.

  • Justin Russell - 2013-04-16 12:05

    Don't beat Beat elephants because they are expensive? What an idiot. I think more focus should be placed on the horses and the like seeing that they are "cheaper".

  • Yvonne Conradie - 2013-04-16 12:21

    The SPCA needs to remove all animals from the Circus!! Period!!

  • Misha Burk - 2013-04-16 12:24


  • Misha Burk - 2013-04-16 12:25 PLEASE SIGN PETITION!!!

  • Sattva Scrabbler - 2013-04-16 12:29

    All circuses which utilize, use and abuse animals should be shut down with immediate effect, animals taken to refuge / rehabilitation centers, and their owners charged with cruelty to animals. It is barbaric to ask wild animals (or wild animals born in captivity) to do tricks for our amusement and entertainment. Stop this nonsense !

  • Debbie Ingham - 2013-04-16 12:45

    Brian Boswell comented that it is not in his interest to be cruel to the animals (ELEPHANTS)because it is and quote (they are expensive). That tells it all, it should not be about the monetery value of the elephant it should be about the fact that they are being abused, I have witnessed this my self. "Shocking" that this has been going on far toooo long. Brian Boswell you must shut down, There are a lot of people that are not impressed with your abuse. I say again "SHOCKING" How would you feel about getting treated that way or do you think to your self they are nothing and are bringing in the money. Shame on you!!!!!

  • James Such - 2013-04-16 13:32

  • Marlouw Walters - 2013-04-16 13:51

    All animals that belong in nature, should not be used to amuse people in a tent, there fore...Boswell should wake up and be punished for allowing it's handlers to hurt the elephants and every body should boycott the sircus.!

  • Estee Prozesky - 2013-04-16 14:07

    Judgement day will have it's way with these idiotic savages!!!! Take those animals AWAY! Immediately!!!

  • Jaryd Sage - 2013-04-16 14:59