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Circus protest pitches for circus cruelty ban

4 November 2003

Circus protest pitches for circus cruelty ban

Circus-goers will be encouraged to sign submissions against circus cruelty addressed to the Minister of Agriculture instead of purchasing tickets to the circus tonight in Waiuku, south of Auckland. Expecting an antagonistic response from circus staff, local SAFE campaigners will be flanked by professional security guards as an added precautionary measure. Police have also been notified.

Legislation governing circuses with animals is currently under review and open for public consultation until 14 November. SAFE understands the Minister has already been inundated with thousands of submission postcards and forms calling for a ban on circus animals.

"The draft welfare code is totally inadequate and out-dated. It serves to legally incarcerate wild animals in appalling conditions for the sake of an archaic and abusive form of entertainment. Fifteen countries prohibit circuses with exotic animals on cruelty issues. Surely it is time for New Zealand to join the world in becoming circus-animal free?" says SAFE Director Anthony Terry.

SAFE has also expressed grave concerns over staging performances with a 6-tonne elephant and lions during Guy Fawke's. SAFE has issued a warning to local residents advising of the risks to public safety and made a complaint to the police.

"What assurances can the circus offer to circus-goers and those living in the area that the elephant won't become startled and rampage? It only takes one idiot to fuel an already volatile situation. The police agree it is highly inappropriate to bring these circus animals into an environment that carries a heighten degree of risk to the public."

"The RNZSPCA has called for people to keep domestic animals prone to becoming scared by the loud bangs and flashes safely indoors. Meanwhile, a circus intends to lead a 6-tonne elephant and other exotic animals into a crowded arena."

Protest action will commence from 7pm tonight at the entrance of the Rugby Football Club on King Street in Waiuku.

For more information contact: Anthony Terry, SAFE Director 021 611 979 Glen Real, Spokesperson, 021 779 951

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