NewsMclaren Circus issued warning by CoGH SPCA

Mclaren Circus issued warning by CoGH SPCA


Cape of Good Hope issued a warning to Mclaren Circus.

The Cape of Good Hope issued a warning to Maclaren Circus listing several issues to be corrected.

The Bulletin posted an article on December 9, 2021 regarding animals in circuses. The article was called: ANIMALS 101 – DON’T BE CAPTURED BY CIRCUS CAPTIVITY!

Although it was part of our very popular Animals 101 series and written as a column, Mclaren Circus took exception to our article and laid a complaint at the press Ombudsman. Although the Ombudsman thought that we were within our rights, we decided to offer Mclaren Circus the opportunity to publish a “Right to Reply”.

This was done on January 20, 2022. The article was called: McLaren Circus – Right of reply.


Carte Blanch recently aired a section on Mclaren Circus. Here is their video:

Clowns, acrobats, trapeze acts and trained animals– traditionally, the circus is known as the “greatest show on earth”. But as activists fight for the rights of animals, fewer circuses feature animals as part of their entertainment. But in South Africa, there’s still one travelling circus refusing to abandon its traditions, transporting animals from city to city in a caravan, and having them perform night after night for weeks at a time. While the owner insists he has their welfare at heart, activists argue a circus is no place for animals and that it’s time to put an end to this archaic way of life. Carte Blanche investigates.

The animal activist group “Ban Animal Trading” have been following the Mclaren Circus and protested at their venues.

The group protested outside the Mclaren Circus the past weekend when inspectors from the Cape of Good Hope issued warnings to Mclaren Circus on several issues found. The City of Cape Town withdrew their Events Permit after learning about the citations. This was reinstated on 29 March.

Here is the full list as posted by Cape of Good Hope SPCA on their webpage:


More than a 100 Animal Rights activists have over the past weekend protested outside the McLaren Circus as reported by IOL and Weekend Argus.   Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse and Inspector Jeffrey Mfini approached the Circus on Monday, 28 March 2022 to conduct an inspection. The circus management granted access, however denied the Cape of Good Hope SPCA the right to take photographs of the cages and concerns found.  

The inspection yielded at least six contraventions of the Animal Protection Act, requiring of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA to issue a warning with certain contraventions to be addressed within 48 hours and others within 7 days.  The contraventions listed included the following:

  1. A female lioness was found confined to the front compartment of the trailer housing/transporting the big cats.  The lioness did not have access to drinking water and did not have access to the other compartment (separated from the other lions) and the outside exercise area.  This compartment affords inadequate space for the confinement of a lion and, for this reason, no lion should be confined to such a compartment without access to the other compartment and the outside exercise area (except during transportation).  (See Section 2(1)(b) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.)  Note:- We were advised by Mr David McLaren that the lions were separated because they were fighting.  If this is the case, then adequate provision should be made for when the lions fight, and they should be kept separately at all times (to avoid fighting) with all animals being allowed access to sufficient space.
  2. A female lioness did not have access to any form of drinking water.  Drinking water must be provided at all times, for all animals. (See Section 2(1)(c) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.)
  3. Concerns were raised about the three (3) French Poodles (Jamie, Sasha and Kiemie) and their dental state.  A veterinarian must examine all three (3) dogs within 48 hours for the dental concerns and possible dental cleaning.  A veterinary report must be forwarded to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA to confirm that the three (3) dogs were examined and specify the treatment that was administered, if any.  The veterinarian must also confirm, in writing, that the three (3) dogs are fit for performance purposes.  (See Section 2(1)(e) and (i) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962)
  4. The animals, particularly the Lions and Bengal Tigers, must be provided with additional environmental enrichment, which should be changed regularly to keep the animals interested and occupied to alleviate captive stress.  The wooden log currently being provided to the big cats in each exercise area is insufficient.  Adequate and sufficient environmental enrichment must be provided within 48 hours.  (See Section 2(1)(a) and (r) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.)
  5. The animal enclosures/cages of the animals were found to be unhygienic and had a putrid smell.  The enclosure/cages must be cleaned at least once a day – or more, if required – to avoid the accumulation of faeces and urine.  (See Section 2(1)(e) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.
  6. An evident fly problem needs to be addressed urgently, particularly with regards to the Lions and Bengal Tigers.  This problem could be a result of poor hygiene standards.  Adequate fly repellent must be sourced within 24 hours and applied accordingly to protect the animals from external parasites such as flies.  (See Section 2(1)(e) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.)
  7. The ramp in the lion compartment, leading in and out of the trailer, does not have any form of gridding on the ramp (like the ramp the Bengal Tigers use).  Sufficient gridding must be placed on the ramp within 7 days to avoid the lions from slipping and getting injured, especially in wet weather conditions.  (See Section 2(1)(a) and (r) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.)

The warning was issued in terms of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 169 of 1993.  Failure to comply with this warning may render McLaren Circus liable for prosecution under the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 and / or Performing Animals Protection Act 24 of 1935.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is opposed to wild animals in circuses.  Wild animals belong in the wild.


The article quoted by CoGH SPCA from IOL can be found HERE. It refers to the Animal Activist group Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) SA.

The following are quotes from that article:

BWC chairperson Toni Brockhoven said they wanted to create public awareness about how important it is that animals were freed from the circus.

“Ther animals are kept in cages, especially the wildlife. Animals can go to a sanctuary and live out their lives naturally,” she said.


“There should be no human interference or interaction with wild animals unless medically necessary,” she added.

Public relations spokesperson for Mclaren Circus, Karl Hildebrandt, said that BWC has selective empathy regarding circus animals.

“They seem to show more concern about one species than the other, when their mission is aimed at animals, is this not contradictory?”

“What is natural for any animal born in captivity? Our beautiful animals are hand-raised in the circus environment and this lifestyle has become their ‘natural’.”


“Because our animals are captive-bred they would never experience the “wild”. They are fully dependent on us humans to protect and care for them. We have a retirement facility in Meyerton, Gauteng where we already house our retired circus animals.”

The SPCA said the McLaren Circus did not receive a permit that was required for animal keeping.

Chief Inspector of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Jaco Pieterse, said a specific permit is required in terms of the animal keeping by-law for any establishment to exhibit or place animals for show within the City of Cape Town.

“An Inspector authorised in terms of section 8(1) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 must be consulted for comment and input by the City before any such permit is issued, which was not done in this instance,” he said.


The world is banning zoos and Circuses using animals. Should this be the case with Mclaren Circus?

You decide!


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Mclaren Circus issued warning by CoGH SPCA

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