Cape Town - Accusations are flying over a series of gruesome text messages sent to Parklands resident and animal rights activist Diane Easey by an employee at McLaren Circus, Duncan McLaren.
According to Easey, the exchange began when she was driving down the R27 on her way to work and spotted the circus tents and caravans of McLaren Circus.
A staunch believer that animals should not be kept in captivity, Easey looked up the number for Duncan McLaren through the circus’s website and fired off an SMS stating: “I do not support animals in the circus.”
She says that she then received the response: “Its my city too you Racist Pig.”
Easey sent back an SMS saying her issue with the circus had nothing to do with race, and that it was a personal issue with the animals.
However, she says the SMSes from Duncan continued, and she received gruesome images of slaughtered and decapitated animals, rhino horns and a scene of a hunter shooting an animal.
“It just got to the point where I wasn’t strong enough,” said Easey.
“I was so incredibly upset.”
McLaren Circus spokesman Arnold Dickson confirmed that Duncan sent the SMSes to Easey.
According to Dickson, the pictures were sent as a response to Easey’s claim that animals would be better off outside of captivity, “purely sent to show her what happens in the wild”.
In a letter to the Cape Argus from Denzil McLaren, he said the initial text from Easey said: “Please pack up your equipment & GET OUT of our area and our city. You are NOT welcome in Tableview,” to which Duncan McLaren replied with the racist pig comment.
Previous reports that Duncan McLaren was a ringmaster or circus boss were incorrect. The sole owner and boss is David McLaren.
Duncan McLaren is listed on the circus’s website as a media enquiries contact.
Denzil McLaren also said in his letter that Easey had been harassing them and pointed to her activity on social media with independent animal rights groups.
Easey has been involved in many types of activism for animal rights, several focused on releasing animals from captivity.
She is a member of the Facebook group, “No to Animals in Circuses and Captivity”, which has about 150 members.
“I think it’s been scare tactics that they send these horrific pictures,” said Easey.