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Circus row could see bylaw amended

13 January 2014
John Harvey

THE Knysna Municipality is to review its bylaws relating to the staging of events following a volley of protest over McLaren Circus, which rolled into town last week.

As was the case in Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay recently, Knysna animal rights activists picketed about the circus’s use of wild animals like tigers and lions.

Both Knysna High School, which hosted the event, and the municipality were slammed for allowing the circus to go ahead.

In the wake of the outcry, the municipality has decided to review its public event laws.

Acting municipal manager Grant Easton said the existing bylaw made no reference to allow for captive, performing wildlife at any event and the depth of public concern had shown that the municipality should revisit its bylaw to take public opinion into consideration.

Public Watch, an organisation which concerns itself with government policy, had put pressure on the municipality to amend the public event bylaw.

Circus spokesman Arnold Dickson said should the bylaw be passed it would affect “all animal attractions in Knysna that form part of Knysna’s eco-tourism”.

“Elephant back safaris as well as circuses all fall under the same laws and regulations. Should this bylaw be passed it will have an extremely negative effect on Knysna itself. Nothing we do is illegal.

“This is merely being pushed by a few animal rights activists based on moral belief.” He said the circus viewed the impending bylaw as unconstitutional as no law in South Africa prevented a circus from operating with animals.



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