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Activist Caged 26-Hours Against Elephant Cruelty

13 November 2003

Activist caged 26-hours against elephant cruelty

From noon tomorrow, animal rights campaigners will imprison one of their own inside a tiny wooden cage for 26 hours. The caged protest coincides with the closure of public submissions against circuses with exotic animals and is in protest at the solitary life of Jumbo the elephant, New Zealand's largest land animal, held captive at New Zealand's last remaining circus with exotic animals.

"Jumbo, a 29-year old African elephant has spent her past 26 years in solitary confinement, deprived of the company of other elephants. Her home is little more than a grossly inadequate shoebox on wheels. Our 26-hour caged protest symbolises the incarceration and constant deprivation Jumbo endures every day of her life," says SAFE Director Anthony Terry.

The code of welfare for circus animals was released for a six week public consultation period by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, an advisory body to the Minister of Agriculture. The public submission period closes tomorrow at 5pm.

"It's a total contradiction that NAWAC and the Minister can release a code of welfare for circus animals. Circuses are based on dominance, coercion and exploitative practices detrimental to animal welfare. Cage sizes are grossly inadequate. Animals are often kept in barren conditions, spending their lives in unnatural conditions that would be deemed illegal if they were not circus animals. Unless NAWAC agrees to ban, at the very least, exotic animals from circuses the code will legalise the inherently cruel and unnecessary treatment of circus animals for the next decade."

SAFE understands NAWAC has received over 18,000 protest submissions from people calling for New Zealand to become circus-animal free."

The 26-hour cage protest will start at 12 noon on the corner of Allenby Road and Great South Road, Auckland opposite the Whirling Brothers Circus where Jumbo remains captive. Further protest actions are planned including demonstrations encouraging people to boycott the circus or make this their last visit to a circus which causes animal suffering.

For more information contact: SAFE Director Anthony Terry 021 611 979

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