Kangaroo Boxing At Circus Stirs Controversy

July 18th, 2011 by Staff

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The Kissimmee-based Rocky Show Circus holds fights across the country and in Central Florida, but some are now questioning if the shows are breaking the law.

WFTV attended a fight Friday afternoon at the UCF Arena to find out if kangaroo boxing is legal in Florida.

There’s no law against it, but animal rights groups will still be out there protesting. While there are those who have said it’s still boxing and it falls under the boxing rules of the state, others believe that forcing kangaroo’s to fight is animal cruelty.

However, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials investigated on Friday and concluded that there were no signs of animal cruelty.

Javier Martinez is the owner of Rocky Show Circus, but there is no business with that name licensed to operate in the state of Florida.

The Kissimmee-based circus travels the country, but has run into problems with its show. Last year, television stations in Texas reported the act was cancelled after the Kraft Company threatened to pull its sponsorship from a festival.

Martinez has also been cited by the USDA for failing to provide veterinary care to the animals for two years. PETA has also hopped on, protesting the show, calling the act “cruel.”

“Martinez has in the past defended the show, saying he treats the animal like family,” said PETA representative Bryan Wilson.

PETA wanted the State Boxing Commission to intervene, but the state said it only monitors human-to-human fighting. Instead, the boxing commission, out of concern for the welfare of the animal, contacted Florida Fish and Wildlife. FWC said Martinez has valid permits for the animals and has no prior violations with them.

WFTV tried to get video of the event, but were forcefully ejected from the show and university police had to intervene.

The Florida Wildlife Commission told WFTV late Friday afternoon, according to the USDA, Martinez provided the proper veterinary care to his animals in January.

A protest of the event by various animal rights activists was held at 6:30pm on Friday.

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