QUEANBEYAN SHOW PROTEST
On Saturday the 10th of November, activists protested and documented the exploitation of animals for entertainment at the Queanbeyan Show in NSW. These traditional pastoralist activities are presented as benign and innocuous ‘good wholesome fun’ but almost every attraction is exploitative or downright cruel to the non-human animals involved.
This year at the Queanbeyan Show animals were exploited in the following activities: -Farmyard nursery (i.e. ‘petting zoos’) -Bull riding and ‘bucking broncos’ -Livestock best in show competitions -Show jumping,side saddle, and other equestrian -Pig racing -Yard dog trials -Reptile show -Tropical fish show Protesters met with patrons entering and exiting the main gates with mixed responses. Several attendees tried to proclaim that there was nothing cruel about the entertainment, yet were unwilling to hear any information to the contrary as it did not sit comfortably with their world-view. There were, however, a few moments with more positive encounters. An older man stopped and talked to the protesters, shaking his head with disgust at the treatment of animals and thanking the activists for being there. One of the strong-woman competitors who had just won silver proclaimed “I didn’t do any of that, I just lifted heavy things!”. The best, however, was a small boy dressed as a tiny cowboy talked with the activists, and upon learning what happens to petting zoo animals after they aren’t cute anymore exclaimed “That’s dumb!” in disgust. We couldn’t agree more tiny cowboy. Many children asked their parents questions about what they had read on the way in. We thank every attendee who refused to participate in the animal exploitation, and every attendee who took the time to speak with protestors with a willingness to learn.
We hope the Queanbeyan Show recognises that these exploitation-events are not draw-cards, they are embarrassing relics. The importance of having a presence at these exploitative events cannot be stressed enough. Without a continued public rejection from activists, the organisers of these events will find it easy to ignore our message and continue to sell this narrative of ‘country living’ that is predicated on the exploitation of animals. Physically protesting shows that we not only reject the use of non-human animals through our boycott, but we are actively fighting against the institutions that continue to exploit sentient beings. We must never stop fighting for the individuals who are trapped within the fences, floats, and cages at these cruel ‘shows’.