The Brian Boswell Circus is coming to Grahamstown and many town locals are questioning how ethical it is for animals to be used in circuses. Shannon Frost investigates the controversy surrounding the matter.
Grahamstown locals have formed a Facebook event to protest against the Brian Boswell Circus and exploitation of animals. The protest aims to bring awareness to the Grahamstown community of the conditions that circus animals are subjected to.
Farm Animal Centre for Education (FACE) Director, Jenny Copley-Forster, is leading the protest along with Carol Harnwell although the plans are fluid at this stage. Copley-Forster assures the protest, “will involve a dignified visible presence at the circus venue for as much time as possible”.
The protest will begin Tuesday, 17 March at Fiddler’s Green and will continue throughout the Boswell Circus performance period. Copley-Forster hopes to convince members of the public not to attend the circus and awaken an understanding of the issues involved. Copley-Forster’s main motivation to protest the Boswell Circus comes from her belief that, “as animals are sentient beings that experience pain, fear and deprivation in the same way as humans do, clearly cruelty towards them is unacceptable at every level,” she explained.
Performers and supporters of the Boswell Circus have defended the circus as an informal debate transpired on the Facebook event page. Supporters, along with circus employees, gave praise to the Boswell company and the welfare of the circus animals and urged the people of Grahamstown to attend and formulate their own opinions.
Embizweni has recently contacted The Brian Boswell Circus. Read the update by clicking here.
Copley-Forster explained how she anticipated a “vociferous reaction” to the protest event from the Boswell Circus owners, staff and supporters but argued that, “There is no ethical justification for the subjection of animals for human entertainment, but they are entitled to make their opinions heard, however invalid they may be”. She then reiterated how she and the protestors have “no objection to human circus acts which are skilled, entertaining and, most importantly, performed by choice”.
The Rhodes Organisation for Animal Rights (ROAR) society has shown their support for the protest by stating that they will most likely be attending the protest. Chairperson of ROAR, Lauren Buckle, explained how “it has been suggested that the Brian Boswell Circus has previously had cases of animal cruelty…ROAR would protest any circus that uses animals for entertainment and our opinion is therefore not directly targeted to the Brian Boswell Circus, but to all circuses that use animals”.
If you would like to find out more information on the protest you can find the event on Facebook or contact Jenny CopleyForster on 083 773 6183. The Brain Boswell Circus will be in Grahamstown from the 17 to 19 March 2015.