The City of Cape Town in South Africa withdrew McLaren Circus’s event permit on 29th March 2022 cancelling the show on its opening day after an inspection by the Cape of Good Hope SPCA uncovered animal welfare violations. However, the city has now reinstated the permit.

Animal rights activists from  Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) SA had been demonstrating against the McLaren Circus as it is one of the few circuses still including animal performances by camels, lions, horses and dogs. On Saturday 26th March a group of 100 protesters gathered outside the big top in Muizenberg. On Monday the Cape SPCA inspected the circus. Chief inspectors Jaco Pieterse and inspector Jeffrey Mfini found at least six contraventions of the Animal Protection Act 1962, which included inadequate enclosures for McLaren’s big cats, no access to drinking water for a lioness, concerns regarding three poodles’ dental state, no environmental enrichment for the big cats, and fly infestations in the animals’ enclosures.

Toni Brockhoven, the BWC chairperson, said to IOL the following during their demonstrations: “Their animals are kept in cages, especially the wildlife. Animals can go to a sanctuary and live out their lives naturally…There should be no human interference or interaction with wild animals unless medically necessary…The circus keeps saying the lions and tigers are only partaking in the show for three or four minutes of a two-hour-long show, if that is the case, you don’t need to use them.”

The result of the SPCA’s inspection prompted the City of Cape Town to withdraw its event permit up until the time the SPCA provided the City with written confirmation that the circus had resolved the contraventions. Vegans in South Africa later disappointingly learnt that the City of Cape Town reinstated the McLaren Circus event permit on 30th March after a spokesperson said, “The reinstated permit has been issued subject to compliance with the conditions set out by the SPCA.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.