Animal activists and McLaren Circus are again at each others’ throats after the circus accused Beauty Without Cruelty of “inciting violence” and trespassing – allegations the organisation has vehemently denied.
Toni Brockhoven, Beauty Without Cruelty’s national chairperson, has called the circus’s claims “an outright lie”.
This came after McLaren Circus opened a trespassing case after a woman was allegedly caught tampering with one of the lion cages in the early hours of Wednesday morning last week.
Circus owner David McLaren told Tabletalk a circus employee had caught the woman fiddling with the cage’s night flap. She had been trying to take photographs and had claimed to be from the media. The circus published a statement on its website saying it took “trespassing on privately rented property very seriously” as it threatened the safety of the circus’s animals and staff as well as the public.
The statement said the circus would leave it to Table View police to investigate, then added: “We urge organisations, such as Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa), to stop inciting violence against McLaren Circus. Your continuous negative posts regarding our business are causing your followers to attack and trespass on our property, without realising the dangerous implications of their actions. For, mainly, safety reasons, we urge every member of the public to reconsider before passing any of the McLaren Circus fencing.”
But Ms Brockhoven lashed out at the circus for trying to link her organisation to the alleged trespassing incident.
“A member of public, unknown to us, who entered the circus grounds after hours cannot automatically be assumed to be a BWC supporter, as has been suggested, and we distance ourself (sic) from any such actions,” she said.
“In all our years, we have never suggested, advocated for, or approved of illegal actions, and with a group as angry and volatile as (some of) the circus people, this behaviour would certainly be a contraindication. Our understanding is that someone entered the grounds at night, took photos and was discovered.”
Table View police spokeswoman Captain Adriana Chandler confirmed that a case of trespassing had been registered last week.