Cir­cus gets go ahead

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

THE cir­cus can still come to town de­spite the op­po­si­tion of al­most 200 peo­ple who signed a pe­ti­tion started by a for­mer Port Dou­glas res­i­dent to ban them from the re­gion.

Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil yes­ter­day de­cided to take no ac­tion on the pe­ti­tion put for­ward by Heather Fardy and signed by 186 peo­ple protest­ing against see­ing wild an­i­mals caged, chained and made to do tricks. or­gan­ised a pe­ti­tion which she pre­sented to the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil with 186 names for con­sid­er­a­tion.

The pe­ti­tion urged coun­cil to ban ex­otic an­i­mal cir­cuses in the Cairns lo­cal govern­ment area and claimed sci­en­tific re­search shows that cir­cus life is not com­pat­i­ble with their needs.

Coun­cil re­jected the pe­ti­tion yes­ter­day and said in its re­port that RSPCA had suc­cess­fully lob­bied sev­eral coun­cils across Aus­tralia to pro­hibit ex­otic an­i­mals on coun­cil man­aged land, how­ever, ‘‘the reg­u­la­tion and en­force­ment of an­i­mal wel­fare leg­is­la­tion is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of State Govern­ment de­part­ments, with lo­cal govern­ment hav­ing no ju­ris­dic­tion over th­ese mat­ters’’.

Ms Fardy, who moved to New South Wales in Jan­uary, said co­erc­ing ex­otic an­i­mals to per­form un­nat­u­ral and some­times danger­ous tricks does noth­ing to ed­u­cate the pub­lic or foster re­spect for an­i­mals and served no valid con­ser­va­tion pur­pose.

‘‘It is wrong for ex­otic an­i­mals to be kept in cages, dragged around the coun­try and forced to per­form de­grad­ing tricks,’’ she said.

‘‘I know a lot of the train­ers sup­pos­edly love their an­i­mals but there’s so much footage of an­i­mal train­ers for cir­cuses us­ing hor­ri­ble meth­ods to get an­i­mals to com­ply be­cause it’s so un­nat­u­ral for them.

‘‘It is a me­dieval en­ter­tain­ment that is not ap­pro­pri­ate in to­day’s so­ci­ety.’’

Ms Fardy said she would pre­fer to take her chil­dren to a free range zoo and show them doc­u­men­taries of the an­i­mals in the wild.

‘‘I would hate for my son to be­lieve lions jumping through burn­ing hoops and be­ing dragged around the coun­try se­dated and kept on a chain is or­di­nary,’’ she said.

‘‘I col­lected all the sig­na­tures on the pe­ti­tion from the area, I was in love with Port Dou­glas and re­ally dis­ap­pointed there when the tents were set up and there were the lions.

‘‘It’s un­for­tu­nate coun­cil re­jected my pe­ti­tion but it’s a mat­ter of time be­fore th­ese cir­cuses are wound up.

‘‘The best way to show cir­cuses what you think of them if don’t go, the less suc­cess­ful they are they even­tu­ally will be­come a form of en­ter­tain­ment that won’t ex­ist.’’

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