What’s wrong with animals in entertainment?
The use of animals in entertainment, such as circuses, rodeos, racing, petting zoos and livestock competitions, speaks to an outdated attitude towards sentient beings. By allowing these events, many of which have already been banned in other jurisdictions, the council is endorsing the exploitation and subjugation of non-human animals.
The use of “heritage” or “tradition” is not an acceptable excuse for these cruel and unnecessary practices. We call on the council to end their financial support of these events, and to bring in legislation to prevent them occurring in Queanbeyan-Palerang.
Animals used in rodeos are trained and provoked into rough behaviour for entertainment purposes. Devices such as spurs, electric prods and flank straps are regularly used on the animals. These devices cause rodeo animals various types of injuries, which sometimes cause the animals to be killed. There is nothing entertaining about tormenting animals.
Rodeos are banned in the ACT. Under s18 of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 (ACT) a person commits an offence if he or she conducts or takes part in a rodeo. The offence is punishable by up to a year in gaol.
Animals in circuses spend most of their time living and travelling in small cramped cages. When they are not in their cages, they are forced to carry out unnatural, inane tricks in loud, frightening circus tents. Their training is based on fear and punishment and not, as is often assumed, on ‘reward’. Abusive training tactics are often used such as whipping, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, beatings, and food deprivation. Such training tactics are used because wild animals do not naturally do tricks such as standing on their heads, balancing, or jumping through rings.
In the ACT all circuses with performing animals must obtain a permit before they can perform (see s52 of the ACT's Animal Welfare Act 1992 (the Act)). A permit will not be granted if the circus troupe includes a bear, elephant, giraffe, primate, or wild cat (eg a lion), whether or not the animal will be used in the circus (see s55(2) of the Act).
Over 40 councils in Australia have banned exotic animal circuses from performing on council land. For a full list of councils see here. Unfortunately this does not include Queanbeyan NSW. Circus companies with wild animals can therefore get around the ACT’s ban by setting up just over the border in Queanbeyan.
Petting zoos takes infant animals from their mothers well before they are weaned. Often these enclosures have insufficient shade, water and feed. These animals are excessively handled from a young age resulting in learned helplessness— a psychological phenomenon where animals (and humans!) are continually unable to engage in neither fight nor flight, and so in turn respond by shutting down psychologically as a protective mechanism.
Most of these animals will end up in the slaughterhouse when they are no longer cute, or they are continuously bred to produce new babies for display. People who enjoy petting zoos would be horrified to know their actions are contributing to animal harm.
An extension of the petting zoo, young piglets are forced to race each other for food rewards. They are still far too young to be away from their mothers, and often they will be underfed to encourage them to race.
These animals are transported from all over the region, kept in confinement for the day and in all likelihood, will be sent to slaughter shortly or impregnated for breeding and milking. They also perpetuate the idea that farming is a wholesome family pursuit with glossy, happy animals when nothing could be further from the truth
Yard dog trials:
These events involve a working dog herding sheep through a course, a dog completing an obstacle course or scaling a high podium. Sheep may be herded multiple times by different dogs and being prey animals, are subject to substantial stress. These events are frequently held in the warmer months increasing risk of heat stress for not only the sheep, but also the dogs themselves.
Boycott all events using animals as entertainment
Adopt, don’t shop
Contact the following council members to voice your opposition to the use of animals in entertainment
Phone: 1300 735 025