FIVE animal rights activists have been arrested and charged with public nuisance after staging protests at three theme parks on the Gold Coast over the weekend.
Members from the “Justice for Captives” group disrupted shows at SeaWorld, Outback Spectacular and Dreamworld, with police being called to the popular tourist attractions on multiple occasions.
In photos and videos posted to the group’s Facebook page, the protesters can be seen climbing the roof of Dreamworld, while others can be seen entering the water at both the dolphin and seal shows at Sea World.
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The disruptions continued at Outback Spectacular, when the group of protesters stormed the arena and halted the popular horse show on Saturday night.
The group said in a number of posts on social media that the protests are “to raise awareness about the use of animals for profit under the guise of education and conservation.”
“Justice for Captives opposes the use of animals for human amusement and entertainment,” they wrote.
“DreamWorld is a zoo disguised as a theme park, and houses over 400 animals in very small and unnatural enclosures.
“Whilst we respect the collection of donations for global wildlife conservation programs, Justice for Captives disagree that animals should be put on display and exploited for photo opportunities and tourism ‘experiences’ in the process.”
Some of the signs used during the weekend protests read “slaves for selfies” and “captivity is cruelty”.
Gold Coast Acting Mayor Donna Gates has condemned the actions of the “fly-in activists” and urged them to “do their research”.
“Village Roadshow has a global record of assisting sick and injured wildlife. They also promote marine conservation and awareness through their signature programs,” Ms Gates said.
“It is a pity the activists conveniently never mention the exceptional work done in these fields, preferring to make crude statements through their protests.
“There is no doubt wildlife awareness and conservation is much more advanced thanks to the work of organisations like Village Roadshow and Dreamworld’s Wildlife Foundation. That foundation alone has raised in excess of $3.5 million for the protection of tigers, koalas and kangaroos.”
One of the protesters is due to appear in Southport Magistrates Court this morning charged with public nuisance.