Victory! Kangaroos Will Not Be Forced to Fight

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

It’s hard to believe that something as barbaric as “kangaroo boxing” was ever even conceived of—or that it still goes on today. But for cruel spectacles such as the one in the Stardust Circus (also called the “Star Family Circus”), kangaroos are still dragged around the country and forced to participate in boxing matches against people. PETA has managed to get several of these disturbing events shut down, which is exactly what we did after we discovered that the Stardust Circus—which features kangaroo boxing—was scheduled to perform at the National Guard Armory in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Kangaroo© Ray Drew 2008

We contacted Maj. Gen. Terry Haston, Tennessee’s adjutant general, and let him know that it’s seemingly against Tennessee law for a person to torture an animal intentionally or knowingly. Tennessee defines “torture” as “every act … whereby unreasonable … suffering … is caused or permitted.”

After we pointed out the likely illegality of holding such an event—and that forcing kangaroos to box with humans is stressful to the naturally gentle animals—Haston e-mailed PETA and confirmed that he had canceled the boxing match as well as all of Stardust’s planned circus performances. “As a result of [my legal department’s] inquiries,” he said, “I have cancelled all rentals with this organization.”

Kangaroos used for boxing matches often suffer from poor diets, inadequate veterinary care, and stress-induced disease. Some have even died while touring. PETA will continue working to get these cruel spectacles shut down until kangaroo boxing has gone the way of the bearded lady.

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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