- Thursday, 06 November 2014
Animal rights activists protested against Lennon Bros Circus at Windsor on Saturday.
About 35 gathered in McQuade Park, denouncing the use of performing animals and calling for it to be banned.
‘‘Animals in the circus need humans to give them a voice,’’ one of the protesters, Ashley Avci of Kurrajong, said.
‘‘They don’t have a choice about becoming entertainment for humans.’’
She said few people knew how animals were made to perform. ‘‘The process of training animals in captivity involves punishment, sometimes starvation,’’ Ms Avci said.
‘‘In the wild, lions are not going to be jumping through hoops, so they use powerful means to train them.’’
She said it was no wonder circus animals, such as lions and elephants, sometimes turned on their masters and killed people.
Animal Liberation’s humane education officer Phillip Hall said it was clear that animals suffered in circuses.
‘‘We see repetitive behaviour in captive animals, such as pacing back and forth,’’ Mr Hall said. ‘‘Lions are social animals but their movements are restricted.’’
Lennon Bros’ manager Warren Lennon rejected these claims. ‘‘Animals in our circus are not ill-treated,’’ Mr Lennon said. ‘‘Any animal that’s being ill-treated will not do anything for you.
‘‘Our training is based on a reward system; they get rewarded for everything they do.
‘‘They also get the best of care; we’ve just had the RSPCA come and look at our circus.’’
He said the protesters were misinformed, objecting to things that no longer happened, at least in his circus, and that they should come and see for themselves.
‘‘Our lions don’t jump through hoops,’’ Mr Lennon said.
He also said cases of circus animals attacking people did not prove they were mistreated.
‘‘A pet dog or a pet cat could turn on you — any animal could; like humans can, when we’ve had a bad day,’’ Mr Lennon said.
Animal Liberation called on Hawkesbury Council to ban animal performances, as Blue Mountains and other councils have.
Mr Hall said some circuses continued to thrive with only humans such as clowns and acrobats entertaining crowds.
A spokesman for Hawkesbury Council said it did not have a policy on circuses and that Council’s power to restrict animal performances was limited, depending on whether it owned the land the circus used or where consent was not required.
‘‘The Council would consider community attitudes as well as any legislative or regulatory issues if it determined to adopt a policy,’’ he said.