News / South Africa / Protests

3 minute read
14 Oct 2019
3:51 pm

Residents once again urged not to support McLaren Circus


Puruma Pride Lion Farm in the Free State is used as a holding facility for the circus' animals, and has been implicated in canned lion hunting.

Ban Animal Trading SA are reiterating the call to stay away from McLaren Circus. Image: Facebook/Ban Animal Trading South Africa

Ban Animal Trading South Africa (BAT) has rehashed its uncovering of the controversial location that McLaren Circus uses as a holding facility for their animals, in a bid to further discourage people from buying tickets to the circus, which is currently in Roodepoort.  

ALSO READ: Right of reply: McLaren Circus says Ban Animal Trading has it all wrong

A Facebook post from July 18, which serves to reiterate to the public not to entertain circuses, reveals that McLaren circus uses Puruma Pride Lion Farm in the Free State as its holding facility. 

The facility, owned by Toit Brink, has been implicated in canned lion hunting and has a constant lion cub population. 

ALSO READ: McLaren Circus’s ‘outdated’ use of animals sparks controversy in Lowveld

Brink has been part of a lion hunt offering, through a lion hunting “facility” called Tinashe Outfitters South Africa. The hunting outfitters, who describe themselves as a “wildlife ranch in the heart of the Kalahari”, boasts various pictures of their most prized kills. 

Puruma is a privately owned “lion farm”, with 50 hectares of enclosed lion camps. 

The post states that BAT received permits of the circus for them to transport their animals to Puruma, which the circus confirmed. 

“You have read these permits correctly. Puruma Lion Farm, based in Free State, is our Free State holding facility for our animals. You are welcome to make it public that McLaren Circus ensures a healthy, long life for all our beautiful performing animals and one way in which we achieve this is by securing various venues to safely house our animals,” they told BAT. 

It also emphasised that the circus was not a breeding facility. “…[W]e have the necessary precautions in place to prevent conception – for all our animals.” 

The post states that McLaren declined to answer any further questions relating to the choice of location of the holding facility, what it is used for, and what other animals they own. 

This is especially relevant due to the fact that McLaren circus is in town once again, and has made Roodepoort its temporary home. Shows have been running from October 9, and will continue until Sunday, October 20. 

It was recently in Mpumalanga as well, and divided the Lowveld community, with those opposing its presence stating that it did not matter if the circus took care of the animals, but rather that they should not be a part of the show at all, Lowvelder reported last month.

“We want to make it very clear that we are not against the circus, only the use of animals for entertainment. We feel that no wild animals should be caged, no matter how they are treated,” said the convener of peaceful protesters in the area, Billy Lindeque van Biljon.

According to the SPCA’s vice-chairperson, Ludi Botha, the circus’s permits are in order, after allegations were made that the circus was using sick animals in its show.

Circus owner David McLaren confirmed that one of the animals was sick, and was subsequently withdrawn from the show. He added that animal rights groups should thank the circus for taking such good care of the animals, and said that the reason he was still doing this was due to the high demand.

“If the public did not enjoy it, we would take them out,” McLaren told Lowvelder.

BAT is strongly discouraging people from buying tickets and supporting the circus. 

The animal rights group will be holding a series of peaceful protests to object to the McLaren Circus from next week. The protests will be taking place in Florida North from October 15 to 20.  

Additional reporting by the Lowvelder’s Arisa Janse van Rensburg.

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