Home' The Canberra Times : CHRONICLE 17.10.12 Contents THE CHRONICLE, Tuesday, April 17 2012 - 5
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Stardust Circus in
Picture: Elesa Lee
A group protesting the arrival of Stardust
Circus in Queanbeyan says the use of
animals in performances is unethical.
Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman
Jessica Ferry says while the group does
not accuse Stardust Circus of outright
abuse, the use of captive animals in circus
performances is exploitative.
‘‘We’re not talking about how the
circus treats them on a day-to-day basis,
we’re talking about the actual use of
animals for entertainment,’’ Ms Ferry
‘‘In this day and age we have so many
different types of entertainment that are
cruelty-free and not based on exploi-
tation, like Cirque du Soleil or Circus
Stardust Circus owner Jan Lennon said
the animals were an integral part of the
‘‘They’re part of a traditional circus
and people expect to see them, it’s not a
circus without animals. We’ve fought all
the way to keep them,’’ Mrs Lennon said.
Mrs Lennon said performances involv-
ing lions and monkeys lasted for approx-
imately five minutes and the animals had
large enclosures to roam when they
weren’t in the big top.
‘‘They’re all born and bred in captivity,
so they don’t really know anything
different,’’ Mrs Lennon said.
‘‘Naturally, they would have some sort
of instincts, but nothing like if they were
born in the wild. They know they’re
going to get their food every night ... [they
sleep] all day, they don’t really care, they
don’t have much else to do.’’
Stardust Circus formerly used ele-
phants, but they were placed in the care of
a zoo after one of them crushed and killed
its trainer in December 2007. ‘‘We put
our elephants into the zoo four years ago,
and they nearly died. One of them lost
300 kilos in weight ... they almost died
because they fretted for the circus so
badly,’’ Mrs Lennon said. ‘‘This is what
animals do when it’s the only life they’ve
One of Animal Liberation ACT’s
biggest concerns was the transportation of
the animals, which sometimes involved
‘‘We live in a big country, there’s a lot
of travelling time for these animals and
that’s in trucks – in small compartments
in the back of trucks,’’ Ms Ferry said.
‘‘That’s not a natural life for a lion or a
However, Mrs Lennon said the animals
experienced no distress and had adequate
space when Stardust Circus travelled.
‘‘They’ve been travelling since the day
they were born. They don’t know
anything else. And when they get to the
next place and put up the yards, the lions
love to get out and sniff around and see
what’s new,’’ she said.
Animal Liberation ACT said Stardust
Circus’s exotic animals should be relocat-
ed to a more natural environment.
‘‘These animals could be retired to
sanctuaries, zoos, places where they
could live out their natural behaviours
and not be forced to entertain crowds,’’
Ms Ferry said.
In a letter addressed to Queanbeyan
City Council, Animal Liberation ACT
noted that exotic animals were banned
from circus use in more than 40 munici-
A spokesman for Queanbeyan City
Council said placing a ban on the use of
exotic animals in circuses was not within
the jurisdiction of the council and was a
matter for a higher authority.
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