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Circus performances & Guy Fawke's endanger lives

Circus performances during Guy Fawke's endanger lives

The national animal advocacy organisation SAFE has taken its concerns to the police and served notices to the Waiuku township community in an effort to prevent a circus with exotic animals from performing during Guy Fawke's.

The Three Ring American Circus (formally Whirling Brothers Circus) plans to stage shows on Tuesday and Wednesday evening (4-5 November) involving a fully-grown female African elephant, lions and monkeys. SAFE believes this is extremely dangerous and irresponsible, posing serious risk to the animals and any persons in the area.

"Guy Fawke's is an incredibly stressful time for animals particularly with the uncontrolled use of fireworks. 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. This is as stupid as putting a raging bull inside a china shop. Eventually, something will get broken," says SAFE Director Anthony Terry.

"What assurances can the circus offer to circus-goers and those living in the area that Jumbo 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 number of captive elephants that have rampaged out of control overseas since 1990 has lead to 65 human deaths and more than 130 injuries. Many of these incidents involve circus elephants.

"In March this year a 9,000-pound African elephant escaped from a tent shortly before a performance and recaptured in a busy downtown area of Michigan but not before sending crowds of onlookers into panic. There are no guarantees this won't happen in Waiuku. SAFE urges parents to keep their families well away from the area.

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