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Boswell court challenge of elephant norms and standards dismissed with costs

2 June 2017 at 10:48 am

Elephants perform in the Brain Boswell Circus in 2008. Image: Netwerk24
Elephants perform in the Brain Boswell Circus in 2008. Image: Netwerk24

The Centre for Environmental Rights welcomes the recent judgment by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court confirming the legality of certain clauses of the National Norms and Standards for the Management of Elephants in South Africa, 2008.

Brian Boswell, owner of elephants previously used in circus performances, applied for permits to export elephants to a captive facility in Dubai. His application was refused. Boswell then challenged the refusal, and the validity of the prohibition on export of elephants to a captive facility in clause 12 of the Norms and Standards, in the High Court.

On 25 May 2017 the court found that “[t]he keeping of elephants in captivity is a serious concern that the Norms and Standards seek to regulate” and that the legal restriction on export of elephants into a captive environment fell within the powers of the Minister of Environmental Affairs. The court dismissed Boswell’s application with costs.

Aadila Agjee, attorney responsible for the CER’s Wildlife Project, said: “Compliance with the National Norms and Standards – which are binding law – is crucial for the conservation and welfare protection of elephants, both captive and wild, in South Africa. We commend Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the KZN MEC’s defence of this challenge to the Norms and Standards, and welcome the judiciary’s confirmation of its legality.”


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