In 2016, Brian Boswell of the Boswell Circus, brought a civil case against the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), claiming a loss of income said to have been caused by the organisation speaking out against the circus’s use of wild animals in performances, and sued the organisation for R16 349 805.36 plus interest. Some three years later, Mr Boswell and the Circus have withdrawn the case against the NSPCA and have tendered the NSPCA’s legal costs.

The NSPCA is opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses and travelling menageries and have voiced this opposition due to the unnatural conditions that wild animals are forced to live in. More than the unnatural confinement and extensive road trips, these animals are trained and forced to do circus acts, the methods used are often inhumane.

Following the cancellation of and poor attendance at shows in certain towns due to public outcry, Mr Boswell instituted legal action against the organisation, blaming them for the cancellations and poor attendance, the alleged forced removal of wild animals from the circus performances and therefore causing a loss of income. The NSPCA defended the matter by filing legal papers and also called for financial documentation and further information from Mr Boswell, who was required to prove the loss of income. Mr Boswell withdrew the case and will be paying the NSPCA’s legal costs.

“This is not only a victory for the NSPCA, but for the animals as well. Our position is clear, it is in our Statement of Policy, we will continue to oppose the use of wild animals in circuses and travelling menageries, we will continue to defend those animals that are forced to live unnatural lives, and we will continue to implore the public to not support any show or facility where wild animals are compromised in any way – be it physically or mentally” said Meg Wilson of the NSPCA.

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