2nd June 2016
Today the Hon. Mark Pearson from the Animal Justice Party informed the NSW Legislative Council of his intent to introduce a bill to ban circuses from using animals in NSW. The bill will seek to amend the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 to prohibit the exhibition of specified animals in connection with a circus, amusement park, fair or similar place of entertainment. The bill is co sponsored by Alex Greenwich, Independent MP for Sydney.
The ACT has banned circuses using certain species of wild animals since 1992. Other jurisdictions around the world have banned wild animal circuses, including countries such as Peru, El Salvador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Cyprus, Netherlands and Greece.
In NSW several local Councils have banned animal circuses from performing on Council land.
Mark Pearson: “The problem with leaving the bans to local Councils is that they can only ban the circuses from setting up on Council land. So you have the local authority representing the community banning these circuses out of concern for the animals, but then they bring in their lions and monkeys and buffalos anyway and just set up their cages on private land. That’s why we need a ban at the State level, and enshrined in legislation.
If passed, this bill will set the benchmark for the rest of the country. We know that across the border in the ACT lions and bears and giraffes can’t be used in circuses. But we think NSW should go further and ban other animals from being subjected to a life of demeaning circus tricks and being carted around the State in tiny cages. Circuses will still be able to have their pets with them, but that’s about it.”
What’s wrong with animals in circuses?
Training regimes and performances force circus animals to engage in unnatural behaviour merely in the name of ‘entertainment’. When not ‘performing’ these animals are denied the opportunity to roam freely, form complex social groups, and manage their surroundings. The lack of stimulation leads the animals to exhibit repetitive behaviours such as pacing and swaying. These behaviours indicate stress, anxiousness and lethargy.
Alex Greenwich: “Forcing animals to undergo a lifetime of travelling long distances, trapped in tiny cages while exposed to constant changing weather conditions and subjecting them to harsh training regimes so they can do tricks on command is a cruel and archaic form of entertainment. Making wild and non-domestic animals perform unnatural stunts is fast becoming unacceptable in society and it’s time the Parliament put an end to this cruelty.”
An hour of entertainment for the audience means a lifetime of imprisonment and misery for the animals. Animals performing in circuses are a relic of less enlightened times and have no part in a modern, compassionate state such as NSW
Image courtesy of Animal Liberation ACT