Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Circus blasts animal ban bid

Circus blasts animal ban bid

Circus blasts animal ban bid

Reality Check:Warren Lennon gets up close with a circus alpaca. Photo: Warren Lynam/182982

Australia's oldest travelling circus has labelled a campaign to have circuses with exotic animals banned from the Sunshine Coast an exercise in ignorance.

Lennon Bros Circus, which uses exotic animals and opens at Stockland Park tomorrow, said the campaign was destined for failure because it was not rooted in reality.

As part of the state wide campaign, the RSPCA plans to petition Sunshine Coast council to make council land a no go zone for circuses such as the 115 year old Lennon Bros.

But Lennon Bros manager Warren Lennon, the fifth generation of his family to operate the business, said the animal welfare organisation should first inspect his circus before trying to pressure councils.

"RSPCA needs to come down and watch our training sessions," Mr Lennon said.

"Everything is done with rewards, and it can see the care that we take with them."

Mr Lennon said circuses that used exotic animals were heavily regulated and the animals regularly inspected.

RSPCA campaigns committee member Adriana Boron said the community was starting to get behind the initiative and she was optimistic the Sunshine Coast would eventually become a no go zone for circuses such as Lennon Bros.

"We know that circus people love them (the animals) and they are part of the circus family, but they really aren't able to show their natural behaviour and lead the life of a wild animal," Ms Boron said.

The RSPCA launched the campaign yesterday by asking Brisbane City Council to ban exotic animal circuses from its land.

Animal Liberation Queensland spokeswoman Cynthia Burnett said such circuses could not care for animals in a way that met even basic animal welfare standards.

Ms Burnett said some countries had imposed a total ban on these circuses.

"Being inspected by a vet isn't any guarantee of good welfare," she said.

"Welfare doesn't happen in the five minute period it takes a vet to inspect them – welfare is an ongoing thing."

A Sunshine Coast council spokeswoman said council would consider the petition once it received it.

The issue sparked heated debate online yesterday, with most thedaily.com.au bloggers favouring a ban.


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