A circus is back in the spotlight with claims of death threats and vandalism levelled against a local animal rights group.
McLaren International Circus manager Arnold Dickson said local members of global animal rights group 269Life threatened to kill circus owner David McLaren.
But 269Life Cape Town director Jeanine Jordaan said members had protested outside the circus and had not threatened anyone.
The alleged incident happened at Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell, where the circus, which showcases acts that involve trained animals, is temporarily based.
Dickson said a woman had threatened McClaren and was one of two who had used spraypaint to vandalise circus trucks. He said McLaren was told: “I will f*****g kill you.”
“The ladies threatened circus staff, swearing at them in full view of the public. The ladies threatened to set free the circus animals, which was seen by the owner as a direct threat to the safety of our animals and the public.
“Before getting into their car the ladies threatened the owner by saying ‘See you tomorrow, a**hole – We have a surprise for you tomorrow.’”
Photographs were attached to a press statement on the incident – these included one of trucks that had apparently been spraypainted with the numbers 269.
There were also photographs of a car with a woman in it who Dickson alleged had been involved in the vandalism and threat. Similar photographs of spraypainted numbers on trucks were posted on the local 269Life’s Facebook page.
Dickson said the matter had been reported to Brackenfell police. But on Saturday police said there was no record of a case having been opened. Police were therefore not investigating the allegations.
On Saturday Jordaan said local members of 269Life had protested outside the circus.
“We made no comments of a personal nature, nor did we direct any comments at any individual at any time during our interaction with the circus staff… No threats on any lives were made by either party.”
She said members had protested against the exploitation of animals in the circus as part of a global movement.[Source: Weekend Argus]