Activists won’t scare off McLaren’s Circus, says owner

2018-06-18 17:47
Tara Aberdeen was one of about 20 volunteers of Ban Animal Trading who staged a protest outside McLaren’s Circus on Saturday.

Tara Aberdeen was one of about 20 volunteers of Ban Animal Trading who staged a protest outside McLaren’s Circus on Saturday. (Kerushun Pillay)

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The “hooha” created by activists protesting against the use of animals at McLaren’s Circus actually led to an increase in attendance, says its owner David McLaren.

He told The Witness that he would “not be scared off” by animal rights activists who have staged protests outside the circus for the last two weekends.

On Saturday, about 20 volunteers from Ban Animal Trading, a national animal rights advocacy group, demonstrated outside the circus, which is being held on the Voortrekker sportfields. They are against the circus’s use of animals.

Tara Aberdeen, a volunteer, said they had observed potential circus-goers turning away during their protest action.

“One family had even asked us to explain to their daughters why we were here, and afterwards they said they’d rather go to the mall.”

She said the group will stage protests at all circuses held in the province.

“He goes to Phoenix [in Durban] next, and we’ve already planned our action,” Aberdeen said.

“We’re here because this is an abuse of animals. We are not against [McLaren] and if they had a human cast, we would support the circus. Lots of countries have banned this, and South Africa needs to get with the times.”

But McLaren said the protesters’ actions had not deterred the public, and claimed the circus has had several sold-out shows.

“We’re on a roll, and we’re being well-supported. [Last] Saturday, they had 30 people protesting, [on Saturday] I counted 17. So they’ve lost momentum.

“They may not agree with us, but we are within the law and our animals are well taken care of. Confinement doesn’t mean the animal is suffering — that is just their belief. Our business has improved since coming to Pietermaritzburg, so their hooha backfired.

“I’ve spoken to them. They are vegans who are against people eating meat and drinking milk and so on. They’ve always had these beliefs, and they try to make us [the circus] look bad.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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