"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity"

George Bernard Shaw

 

Contents

 
Home
About
Animal Cruelty
Animal Emotions
Animal Rights
Arna's Plight
FAQ's
Incidents
The Experts Say
Links
Latest News
Quotes
What you can do
Contact
Guestbook
Code of Practice
Search

 

 

       

Owner has big concerns

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/manawatustandard/0,2106,3337019a6003,00.html

06 July 2005

Whirling Brothers' Circus owner Tony Ratcliffe has a list of grievances as long as Jumbo's trunk. He spoke to DAVID EAMES about unfair government legislation and the vagaries of elephant upkeep.

Whirling Brothers' Circus owner Tony Ratcliffe has a list of grievances as long as Jumbo's trunk. He spoke to DAVID EAMES about unfair government legislation and the vagaries of elephant upkeep.

"The Labour Government have had it their own way for too long," says Tony Ratcliffe, Whirling Brothers' Circus boss.

It's not the kind of response one expects when merely seeking a colourful picture for the front page.

But the appearance of a reporter and photographer is simply too good an opportunity to have a dig at the Animal Welfare Act, which Mr Ratcliffe says will take all the fun out of circus visits.


PINK OF HEALTH: Whirling Brothers' Circus owner Tony Ratcliffe and Jumbo prepare to hit the road, in Feilding yesterday.

Jonathan Cameron
Manawatu Standard

The bill, passed around Christmas time, established a number of "best practices" that, he says, will spoil all the fun for youngsters. These include the removal of all lions, elephants and large primates from circuses.

It is, he claims, the SPCA's agenda to take animals out of circuses, and the Government has been too keen to help out.

"The Labour Government are traitors to the people of New Zealand."

As he rakes straw from under Jumbo, his 30-year-old African elephant, and replaces it with fresh bales, he pours scorn on one bureaucrat who suggested Jumbo would be better off in the company of other elephants.

He does not trust any zoo to look after his Jumbo.

Mr Ratcliffe said a Feilding vet visited the circus and praised the manner in which the animals - including miniature ponies, lions and monkeys - are being looked after. All the beasts get shots and regular innoculations - often more than were legally required, he says.

Human jugglers, a contortionist (a bloke who climbs into a bottle) and trapeze artists are also travelling with the circus, though a doctor will presumably be summoned to attend upon them.

"Animal rights makes sense," the 40-year circus veteran insists, "but it has got to be in the right context."

Whirling Brothers' transportation guy - John Bos - can vouch for Mr Ratcliffe's care of the animals, Jumbo in particular.

"I have seen this man sleeping in the front of the trailer with the elephant when it is sick."

Jumbo certainly appears to be in the pink of health, banging her trunk merrily against her trailer.

It is an improvment on earlier in the day, when she suffered an attack of the shakes after apparently drinking a little too much water.

Whirling Brothers' Circus will perform in Palmerston North for the next two weeks.

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
         
     
         
 
         
Top | Homepage  
SiteMap
 

website design & hosting by stormzone.net - built with Dreamweaver MX