Your Guide to the Reality of Animal Circus

"The academic panel concluded that there appears to be little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals kept in travelling circuses is any better or worse than that of animals kept in other captive environments" - Executive Summary of the DEFRA Circus Working Group 2007

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Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Gold Coast City Council from 15 March, 2008
Gold Coast City Council from 15 March, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rouster apologizes for the tardiness of this report. It has been in their inbox for a long time now, but various commitments have taken up the team's time. However, we are delighted to report on a victory for common sense, rational thought and science in favour of animal circus. The following is a list of events that led up to the repeal of a nearly four year-old ban.

29th January 2013

July 2009

Former Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke proposed a ban (‘due to animal welfare concerns’) on any circuses with exotic animals being able to set up and show on GC City Council Land.
Current councillor Dawn Crichlow (Division 6), who was also present at the 2009 council meeting when the ban was passed, reported that there was “literally no debate” on the topic and she was amazed that the ban was passed simply because Ron Clarke did not agree with exotic animals being in circuses.

8th January 2013

An article was read by an Australian former circus owner Vickie Small and was posted in a private conversation on FB amongst people within the Australian Circus industry. The article reported that Councillor Crichlow had proposed the ban be overturned at the next council meeting (29th January 2013) and that a relatively new Animal Rights group called Coast to Coast Animal Friends were planning a protest in front of the council chambers. 

8th – 29th January 2013

Individuals, predominately from Australian circus industry, spread the word of the proposed overturning of the ban and gather support from each other, the public, from other animal industries and sought overseas support from others within the industry.

January 2013

The charity run RSPCA ran an $8000 add in the Gold Coast Bulletin, the largest of the Gold Coast news papers, asking for people to support a continuance of the current ban.

21st January 2013

RSPCA Chief Executive Officer Mr Mark Townend emailed all individuals on their mailing list. The email contained incorrect claims about circus animals and a link to sign a petition to “Say NO to Exotic Animal Circuses on the Gold Coast”. 
Click for Email.

25th January 2013

Animal Welfare League of Queensland (AWLQ) posted a letter on their webpage written to the Gold Coast Mayor Mr. Tom Tate which contained several sensationalised claims about exotic animals who live and travel within the circus environment.
22nd – 29th January 2013

Almost daily media coverage of the event on TV, radio and in newspapers. RSPCA and AR supporters making various unjustified and unsubstantiated statements about the lifestyles, conditions and treatment of animals in circus.

29th January 2013.

Animal Rights Activists rallied at the Gold Coast City Council Chambers at 11.30am.
Individuals supporting animals in circus also gathered at the same venue at the same time.

Council meeting commenced. 
Councillor Crichlow proposed “the ban” be overturned. Seconded by Councillor Donna Gates.
2 councillors spoke FOR the bill and 3 councillors spoke AGAINST the bill. 

Councillor Crichlow reported that an online survey conducted by the Gold Coast Bulletin the week prior to the council meeting showed 73% wanted to see animals remain in circuses in Australia, 27% were against animals in circus. The poll actually closed at 74% for animals in Circus.

She also told the council that in 1996 a National guideline was put in place for the housing and care of exotic animals in circus.
Councillor Crichlow explained that several animal professionals had met together at the Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney including representatives from the zoo and circus industries as well as representatives from the Department of Agriculture. She reported that the guideline was signed off by the then National President of the RSPCA. Since the guideline had been established there have been no reports of breaches of the guideline nor any reports of animal abuse or neglect in Australian circus. 

All 3 councillors speaking against the bill made invalid claims against circuses, of animals being abused and mistreated.
Another councillor questioned what the RSPCA had been doing if there had been animals abused and poorly cared for within the circus industry. They also asked why there were no reports as such? There was no answer to this.

A letter was read out from an absent Councillor, Mrs Tracey Gilmore stating that she was a veterinarian. In the letter she made sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that it is “not possible to care properly for exotic animals in a circus environment”. 

A petition which was produced by the first councillor, who supported the ban staying in place and an line survey from the RSPCA reportedly had over 6000 signatures supporting the ban.

The Council voted on the bill.
The vote was 7 for and 7 against. The current Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate used his casting vote to overturn the ban.

Peta vs Animals

Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group
Or follow us on Twitter: @RousterAstley
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