Furor Erupts Over Boxing Kangaroos

Published by PETA.

Update: PETA has filed a complaint with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regarding Rocky’s suffering, and the agency has confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the matter. We have not received word from the commission on their findings yet, but members of the boxing community are weighing in on the matter – UFC welterweight Thiago Alves is spreading the word on Twitter. Please join him in pushing for Rocky’s rescue.


Please thank the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for pursuing an investigation and let the commission know that you find the act cruel and objectionable. Call the commission at 1-888-404-3922 or submit a comment here

It’s hard to believe that anyone would haul around a diapered, distressed kangaroo and force him to box, but exhibitor Javier Martinez, who is currently traveling with the Piccadilly Circus, is doing just that. PETA has sent a complaint to the Florida State Boxing Commission (FSBC) and the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation urging them to intervene to stop the illegal “Rocky Show Circus,” which is traveling throughout Florida. Boxing matches must be licensed by the FSBC, and there is no evidence that Martinez has complied.

D’Arcy Norman/cc by 2.0

Martinez, who dresses up a kangaroo named Rocky and taunts him into fighting back, has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide adequate veterinary care and safe animal enclosures. Rocky is clearly stressed and has charged people during photo shoots, chewed on his own arm, and attempted to flee the ring during the act.

At least two kangaroos used in Martinez’s boxing act have died while touring with a circus, including one who died while traveling with UniverSoul Circus from complications of a deadly bacterial disease called “lumpy jaw,” which can result from severe crowding, poor hygiene, poor diet, and stressful conditions.

Please only attend innovative, exciting circuses that don’t exploit animals, like Cirque du Soleil. Here’s a complete list.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind