RSPCA Queensland has urged the City of Gold Coast to impose a ban on circuses with exotic animals using council land.
The motion to allow Stardust Circus to use the council owned Mitchell Park at Southport was controversially passed last year after the Mayor Tom Tate used his vote to carry the motion.
“We urge the Council to reconsider,” CEO of RSPCA Queensland Mark Townend said. “The Gold Coast took a step backwards last year and this is a fresh chance to make amends.”
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Animal Liberation Queensland gathered outside Council Chambers at Evandale on Tuesday where councillors hoped to push for a vote to reinstate the 2009 ban on exotic animals in circuses but Mayor Tom Tate didn’t include the item on the meeting’s agenda.
Last year Council ignored pleas from 6564 people who signed a petition to ban circuses with exotic animals from using council land.
RSPCA Queensland has urged Gold Coast residents to contact their local Councillor and demand they vote to impose the ban.
“Scores of Councils throughout Australia now have these bans in place and more are coming on board every year,” Mr Townend said.
“Last year seven Councillors chose to ignore progress and move back into the past.
“What was also frustrating was the fact that Councillor Gilmore was overseas when the vote was taken and a new motion for a fresh vote when she returned was overturned by the Mayor,” he said.
Mr Townend said the RSPCA believed the times had changed and the era when people enjoyed seeing exotic animals “perform” was over.
“We accept that most circus employees genuinely love the animals and would do anything in their power to protect them from any premeditated or incidental cruelty,” Mr Townend said.
“However the public, children in particular, learn nothing beneficial or positive about these animals by seeing them perform tricks that are unnatural and bear no similarity to their behaviour in the wild.
“We believe that these animals should be moved to open plan zoos where they are able to express normal behaviours.
“We promote animal welfare not animal rights. In this day and age, exotic animals have no place in a travelling circus. The Lion King is simply paraded as the Lion Jester. And that’s sad.”