NOBLESVILLE, IND. — A quick search on YouTube generates several videos of a trained kangaroo wearing boxing gloves and shorts in a ring with a person. Some call it a comedic side-show act. Critics say it’s too controversial.
The Indiana Animal Rights Alliance stood outside the Noblesville National Guard Armory before the Stardust Circus show Thursday night.
Protesters held signs with sayings like ‘Boycott the circus!’ and ‘Kangaroo boxing is animal cruelty’.
“A lot of people don’t realize that circuses have terrible cruelty associated with it,” said Joel Kerr from Indiana Animal Rights Alliance.
Stardust Circus’ owner told Fox 59 kangaroo boxing is a clown routine and they do nothing to harm their animals. The company also claimed they no longer perform the act in Indiana because they’ve received too many complaints.
Kerr accused Stardust Circus of misleading residents. The company continues to advertise the heavy weight act on their fliers.
“They were caught in Connersville, Indiana continuing to do the kangaroo act [in January],” said Kerr.
In January, PETA filed a complaint to the Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard urging him to drop the act during an event in Columbus. Since 2005, Stardust Circus, also known as Star Family Circus, was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nearly two dozen Animal Welfare Act violations, including some involving kangaroos, said PETA.
The animal rights group will also send a letter to Stardust Circus Friday inquiring as to whether the company has upheld their decision to stop featuring the kangaroo match in the country.
Animal fighting of any kind is illegal under a Hamilton County ordinance. The Indiana National Guard Public Affairs told Fox 59 anyone who rents out the armory has to follow city ordinances. Lt. Col. Cathy Van Bree said they also made sure kangaroo boxing was dropped from Thursday’s show.