IN THE NEWS: US Stardust Circus to put real-life boxing kangaroos in the ring


IN THE NEWS: On JAN 18, 2013

IT'S the boxing kangaroo no Australian wants to see.

A US circus is planning yet again to force a captive marsupial into a boxing ring as a sickening form of entertainment, despite animal welfare groups worldwide condemning the act.

Stardust Circus has scheduled performances of its controversial show this weekend at US National Guard armouries in Indiana and Mississippi.

A similar event in 2010 in Texas had to be cancelled due to outcry from the Australian public following a Daily Telegraph article, but animal welfare group PETA said kangaroo boxing shows continued in some parts of the country.

The show involves a tethered red kangaroo being dressed in human clothes and boxing gloves, then led into the ring and provoked to fight a human opponent.

A keeper holds back the kangaroo with a leash throughout the match.

RSPCA NSW spokesman Lukas Picton said his organisation opposed the use of animals for any kind of entertainment, exhibition or performance where injury, suffering or distress was likely.

"RSPCA Australia is opposed to the use of non-domesticated animals, including kangaroos, in circuses or similar travelling menageries,'' he said.

"The requirements of circus life are not compatible with the physiological, social and behavioural needs of these animals.''

"We particularly oppose the use of animals for any form of fighting, which refers to bull fighting, cock fighting, dog fighting or any sport where an animal is provoked to fight another animal or human.''

PETA Australia campaign coordinator Claire Fryer said the company responsible for the circus had been cited for almost two dozen violations of animal welfare laws since 2005.

Those breaches included failing to provide a kangaroo with adequate veterinary care and failing to house a kangaroo in an adequate facility.

"Kangaroos used for entertainment live very lonely lives _ they can't live in their social groups and they are deprived of everything that is natural to them,'' she said.

"I think this would be abhorrent to the majority of people.''

Australian Reptile Park operations manager Tim Faulkner said that while kangaroos "boxed'' one another in the wild, human intervention provoking them to do so was completely inappropriate.

"You would certainly have to aggravate the kangaroo to do this,'' he said.

"Long term, it is going to be leading a much more stressful life than a kangaroo that's out in the paddock.''

Comment has been sought from the US National Guard.

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