READER'S STORY: Last week, I wrote the following to our local council:
I am very disappointed to learn that Fraser Coast Regional Council continues to approve circuses with animals on council-controlled land.
As a ratepayer, I require a response, please, to this complaint. I do not endorse my council approving this or any other circus with animals.
In many countries around the civilised world and in some 40 council areas in Australia (and in the ACT), circuses with performing animals are banned.
This is in response to a growing community awareness of the inappropriateness of allowing animals to be kept in unnatural conditions.
This is not a specific complaint against the Stardust owners of the animals who may, in fact, treat their animals kindly.
My complaint is against the archaic system upheld by some local authorities that perpetuates the wrong of people treating non-human beings as objects or playthings for public amusement.
The more we know about animals it becomes clearer that animals, especially primates, are self-aware and often experience distress, separated from their kin and pain in behind-the-scenes training.
Constant transportation across great distances often in heat and in the roar of the traffic is not pleasant for the animals who are constantly breathing polluted air by or on roadways.
A toothless lion pacing up and down is not a joyful sight.
Such behaviour indicates stress.
Animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and monkeys should not be coerced into performing unnatural acts for the amusement of human beings or forced to live their lives in cramped conditions merely to provide entertainment.
Of what value is it to a primate to have it driving a little car about.
How majestic is it to see a magnificent horse sit on a small stool?
Is it fun for an elephant to be restrained and for it to have to balance on the back of a lorry as it goes around corners?
Using animals in circuses is immoral and degrading for all concerned. It is particularly offensive that children should be exposed to such futile and exploitative mistreatment of animals for their amusement.
It has been shown through research that patrons do not come out of performances knowing more about science and how the animals live in their natural habitats.
I am not about taking people's livelihoods.
Patrons can be entertained without the need to use animals.
I strongly urge you and your colleagues to join the other humane and enlightened local authorities around Australia and ban circuses with animals from the Fraser Coast Regional Council region for ever.
I look forward to reading the council minutes to hear how this complaint is handled.
Thank you. "
Today I received a reply from George Seymour, Deputy Mayor, indicating that still the majority of councillors are in support of the continuation of this form of entertainment.
This is very disappointing. I urge people of the Fraser Coast to stop and think a little deeper about this issues and do some research about animal welfare.
Who didn't enjoy the circus as a child but now I am a grown up senior I have put away childish thinking.
I know better.
It is time for the council to revisit this issue.
Slavery is gone, women are no longer objects. It is time for our leaders to do some independent research and think outside the box.
It doesn't matter if we enjoyed the circus when we were kids.
We can still enjoy the fun of the circus but not at the expense of the poor animals.
I am speaking out because they cannot.
Please, let us take this issue seriously and all work to make our world a kinder and more gentler environment.