How many times do South Africans have to see tigers and lions pacing inside their small pop-up enclosures on a very hot day, with no shelter but their metal enclosures, heated to unbearable temperatures by the African sun? This is how these animals will live their entire lives, between secretive training behind the scenes, unsuitable housing and outdated performances.

This must come to an end.

Big cats, in particular, are used in the South African circuses. Internationally, chains, whips and sharpened tools are used during training, and food deprivation is another strategy used to reach training goals.
Many organizations and institutions have, for years, campaigned against this unnatural, inhumane, unethical way of exploiting animals for pure entertainment and profit in South Africa. At present, there are only two animal circuses left in the whole country.

The law to regulate performing animals in South Africa (Performing Animals Protection Act or PAPA) goes back to 1935 and it is one of the oldest and poorest laws worldwide, in terms of animal cruelty prevention or even basic animal welfare. It was amended once - in 2017 - and only in terms of which authority must issue the necessary licence to allow circuses to use animals for entertainment.

Performances with animals, and in particular wild animals, have been banned in more than 50 countries because of a well-documented history of abuse and neglect of all species involved. Fifty-six countries in the world have already banned the use of animals for shows and entertainment. Many of the countries that have banned animal circuses are not necessarily known for their general animal welfare record, such as Bolivia and Greece, yet they understand they grasp the cruelty that circus animals are subjected to. Among others, Cyprus, Malta, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Mexico, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Portugal, India, Ecuador, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Chile have banned the use of animals in circuses.

Circuses claim that they fulfil an educational role by using wild animals for entertainment: the animals are "ambassadors", the circus gives children the opportunity to see magnificent animals and learn more about them, which all apparently contributes to conservation. Such claims are untrue: children know more about dinosaurs than about tigers! Displaying animals out of context, forcing them to perform unnatural and silly tricks has no educational value, and only reduces magnificent creatures to pathetic beings whose sole purpose is to entertain humans.

Animal-free circuses are successful internationally, and there is no reason why South Africa should not join the 56 countries that have successfully banned animal circuses. Animals do not have to be subjected to cruelty to entertain humans: holograms combined with natural size props can produce a far more valuable experience of true wilderness and is a truly educational encounter.


Animals who are victims of this practice must be allowed to finally retire in reputable sanctuaries, away from human presence that reminds them of a life of exploitation and abuse.


Update #13 years ago
Good news! One of the only two remaining animal circuses in SA has decided to withdraw a court case against NSPCA and pay all costs involved!
Brian Boswell Circus sued the NSPCA in 2016 claiming a huge loss of income due to the organisation speaking out against the circus’s use of animals in performances. Well done NSPCA you did the right thing and we are all behind you! These two pathetic circuses must go animal free!
Keep signing and sharing!!
Sign Petition
Sign Petition
You have JavaScript disabled. Without it, our site might not function properly.

Privacy Policy

By signing, you accept Care2's Terms of Service.
You can unsub at any time here.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.