BorderFest cuts kangaroo boxing amid controversy
Sat, 06 Mar 2010 22:02:37 GMT —
The theme for this year's BorderFest is "Celebrating Australia" but an act at the annual event upset animal rights activists from the Land Down Under.
The annual Hidalgo festival dropped a sideshow act featuring a boxing kangaroo amid the controversy.
The Rocky Show Circus was scheduled to appear at BorderFest on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The act features a kangaroo named "Rocky" who wears boxing shorts and boxing gloves and then spars with owner Javier Martinez -- all to the theme song from the movie "Rocky".
Male kangaroos naturally spar with rivals but carinval entertainers have long used them for "boxing" acts.
PETA and other animal rights activists have labeled the entertainment an act of animal cruelty.
Several reporters from Australia called Action 4 News reporting that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other politicians were weighing in on the issue.
Kraft Food is a sponsor of this year's BorderFest, whose theme "Celebrating Australia" was meant to bring cultural understanding of the Land Down Under.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper from Sydney reported that Kraft Foods Australia, the maker of Vegemite, that issued a press release saying the kangaroo boxing act had been pulled.
"We understand the BorderFest Association, which organises this annual cultural celebration, has apologised for offending anyone, particularly the people of Australia, with the kangaroo boxing display," Kraft spokesman Simon Talbot told The Daily Telegraph.
A flag featuring a boxing kangaroo also caused a controversy at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver when organizers wanted to take it down at an event.
Action 4 News could not verify if kangaroo boxing is was legal or illegal in Australia but will provide an update once the information is confirmed.
Rocky Show Circus Owner Javier Martinez fired back on the issue with the following statement on his act's Myspace page:
(Note: Action 4 News did not alter the spelling or grammar of his statment)
Ok for those who are reading upon bout our show and who have been seeing the austrialian news paper.
Just to inform you we do not neglect our kangaroos in any way. We treat them as family we always have.
The video you seen on there was not our show nor our family.
I am sorry that some of you think as if it is a bad thing. But its not for what we are doing.
If they do not want to go out and do a show we do not make them at all.
Like i said we treat them as family. If you saw with your own eyes then you will see and know what is really going on.
But dont disrespect us nor think that we are doing something so cruel.
There are other families besides us that do the same act but act upon it in a bad way and for some reason you think we are the bad ones. But think again!!
AND NOW "The Martinez Family" of circus performers have a history in the circus for 5 generations.
Originally from Argentina, the Martinez have traveled throughout the United States with a variety of touring shows and circuses.
We have created a very entertianing show combining circus acts, fascinating animal performers and an educational experience all in one extraordinary show.
Don't miss the opportunity to bring this great family entertainment to your special event.
Audiences of all ages enjoy our show. This is your opportunity to engage a SURE-FIRE CROWD PLEASURE.
We feature THE SENSATION OF THE 21ST CENTURY,"ROCKY", THE BOXING KANGAROO!
As educational as it is entertaining, this boxing match features" ROCKY the BOXING KANGAROO" and provides audiences with some fun-filled animal antics as well as a close-up look at one of Australia's animal oddities.
ROCKY holds the title of being the only boxing kangaroo currently performing in the United States.
YouTube user 6thDeath posted the following video from Martinez's act when it visited Hempstead, Texas: