MEDIA RELEASE: 12 AUGUST 2020
NSW PARLIAMENT INQUIRY COULD SEE END TO THE USE OF ANIMALS IN ENTERTAINMENT
NSW is lining up to become the first state in Australia to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses, and is set to follow Victoria’s move to ban the use of dolphins in circus-style tricks. The state currently has one known travelling circus with exotic animals and one dolphinarium: Stardust Circus and Dolphin Marine Conservation Park in Coffs Harbour.
A Parliamentary Inquiry into the exhibition of dolphins in dolphinariums and exotic animals in circuses will begin tomorrow, with Animal Justice Party MP the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC serving as Deputy Chair. Ms Hurst says this inquiry will question whether using animals for human entertainment still has a social licence, and highlight the conditions these animals are forced to endure.
“The time of lions, monkeys and dolphins in NSW being held in tiny enclosures and performing humiliating tricks for a dwindling number of spectators is coming to an end,” said Ms Hurst.
“Using animals in circus-style tricks has lost its social licence and it’s easy to see why. A review Commissioned by the Welsh Government concluded that it is impossible for circuses to meet the behavioural and welfare needs of exotic animals.
“Tiny, unnatural enclosures deny these animals the ability to express their natural behaviours causing the animals’ extreme stress and frustration.
“I for one am embarrassed that Australia is falling behind on the most basic animal protection laws by allowing the archaic and cruel circus industry to continue. There are 45 countries that have introduced bans or restricted the use of animals in circuses - we must be next.
“Thankfully, the last marine park in New South Wales has voluntarily elected to stop their breeding program and is considering retiring the dolphins to a sanctuary. This inquiry will provide the dolphinarium a chance to put that position to the Government and get the funding to make it a reality.
“With no visitors and tourists to pay the bills during COVID lockdowns, there's been a push for Government hand-outs to keep these businesses open. But the money would be much better spent on retirement plans and humane sanctuaries, rather than just the continued imprisonment of these animals.
“After so many years of allowing exploitation, it is my hope that the State Government will move their funding priorities to assist both industries to retire the animals.
“Our weak laws have failed these animals long enough. The use of animals in so-called entertainment must be banned in New South Wales,” said Ms Hurst
Hearings will be broadcast live to the public on the NSW Parliament website from Thursday August 13.
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