Stop the Use of Animals in Circuses

Animal Liberation Challenges Animal Circuses on Animal Welfare Claims

Sydney, 13 November 2018:

Animal Liberation is teaming up with The Animal Project and Legion DX Sydney to hold a peaceful protest against Stardust circus, this Sunday, 18 November, between 12-2pm at the Blacktown showground.

Gabi Openshaw, Humane Education Officer at Animal Liberation says, “the exploitation of animals for entertainment, is no longer considered acceptable by the NSW public. People around the world, are increasingly aware of the unique needs of animals, as individual sentient beings.”

Ms Openshaw cited results from a Stardust circus ‘announced’ audit by NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), in February this year, to debunk the myth that animal welfare is a priority to circus operators. The NSW DPI audit results for Stardust circus note a number of defects including; animal record sheets that are not up- to-date, no documented contingency plan, veterinarian arrangements not complying with the Standards, enclosures not maintained in a good state of repair, and no records of staff experience and qualifications. Ms Openshaw said, “Even passing an audit inspection is pretty meaningless because the circus receives pre-advice of the audit, and is only audited against very outdated welfare standards, that RSPCA itself speaks out against. We were also deeply saddened to recently learn that due to many months of delay between NSW DPI and Lennon Bros circus during 2017, the proposed transfer and retirement of a Macaque from the circus did not eventuate as the Macaque died, still in captivity.”

“The animal circuses, Blacktown city council and the NSW state government continue to fail these animals and are ignoring wide-spread community expectations” says Ms Openshaw.

“We are calling on Stardust circus and all animal circuses to retire these long-suffering captive animals into a suitable sanctuary to allow them a remaining quality of life. We are also calling on Blacktown City Council to introduce a policy banning animal circuses on council land, as many other progressive NSW councils have done.” In response to growing community concerns, over 40 countries and multiple local councils across Australia, have implemented prohibitions or restrictions of the keeping of animals in circuses that involve exotic animals; and the ACT Government has had a ban in place for over 20 years.

Independent state Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, says “Australians have moved on from watching animals do unnatural tricks for entertainment and it’s finally time to end this archaic practice. While there are only a handful of circuses left still using animals, we need to act to end the suffering of the animals involved, whose lives involve nothing more than harsh training regimes and performances, constant travel, caged living conditions and loneliness. I’m honoured to again work with concerned community members, groups and organisations to help stop this unacceptable cruelty.”

Stardust circus hold, in captivity, wild African lions, horses, pigs and monkeys among other species. As is the case with Lennon Bros circus and Webers circus, Stardust circus continually travel and hold circus events which includes animals’ performing ‘tricks’.

On its website, Stardust circus claim, “We are occasionally inspected by the RSPCA and have always been found to comply and exceed all regulations. Each of our animals receive the very best in veterinary care …” When referring to their circus animals, the website also states, “Their safety and comfort is of the utmost importance to us and we are dedicated to their care from birth, throughout their performing years and into retirement.” Ms Openshaw says, “Living conditions in circuses can cause severe stress, boredom, frustration and lethargy for non- domesticated animals, leading to abnormal behaviour (stereotypies). We see this in the repetitive behaviours they exhibit with pacing, swaying or mouthing cage bars. These behaviours are scientifically acknowledged as indicators of an impaired welfare due to the inability to cope with unsuitable living conditions.”

The RSPCA also is opposed to the continued use of non-domesticated (exotic) animals, such as lions and non-human primates (monkeys), stating, the requirements of circus life, are not compatible with the physiological, social and behavioural needs of these animals. RSPCA’s policy is based on evidence that no circus, no matter how well managed, can provide an appropriate environment for wild animals.

Contact and for a copy of the formally released information.
Gabi Openshaw | [email protected]


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