Tennessee National Guard Cancels Circus That Features Cruel Kangaroo Boxing

Decision Follows Appeal From PETA; Group Now Working to Stave Off Appearance at Second Venue

For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cleveland, Tenn. – After PETA discovered that the Stardust Circus—also known as the “Star Family Circus”—planned to have a kangaroo boxing match at the National Guard Armory in Cleveland on April 16, the group fired off a letter to Tennessee Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Terry Haston. In it, PETA pointed out the likely illegality of holding such an event. PETA also noted that forcing kangaroos to box with humans is stressful to the naturally gentle animals and that some used for such events have died. In an e-mail sent to PETA this week, Haston confirmed that he had canceled the boxing match and the circus. Now, PETA is also trying to get canceled a last-minute booking for the act scheduled for tonight at Cleveland-based Tri-State Exhibition Center.

“Forcing kangaroos to box should have gone out with the cruel carnivals and ‘freak shows’ of the early 20th century,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Major General Haston made the right decision by handing the despicable Stardust Circus its discharge papers and telling it to take a hike—and the Tri-State Exhibition Center should do the same.”

Tennessee law makes it an offense for a person to torture an animal intentionally or knowingly. The term “torture” is defined to include “every act … whereby unreasonable … suffering … is caused or permitted.”

Two kangaroos used for boxing matches in circus performances have died while touring, one from complications of “lumpy jaw,” a disease that can result from extreme crowding, poor hygiene, and poor diet. The Star Family Circus has been cited numerous times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including for failing to provide a kangaroo with adequate veterinary care, failing to house a kangaroo in a structurally sound facility that protects the animal from injury, and failing to provide enclosures that would safely contain a kangaroo and keep unauthorized persons out.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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