Exotic circus animals ban could be revised

Generic. Circus elephant.Photo iStock

Generic. Circus elephant.Photo iStock

Circus acts featuring lions, elephants and monkeys could be on the horizon again for Granville Park after Parramatta's lord mayor flagged his support for a review of a ban on exotic animals on council land.

Heated debate about the use of exotic animals in circus acts arose between councillors during discussion on an application from Circus Royale Australia to build a circus big top and seating for staging at Granville Park.

Although Circus Royale only uses domestic animals like camels and horses in its acts, the matter prompted Cr Jean Pierre Abood to seek an amendment to the 2006 ban and allow exotic animals back onto council property.

"You can't just do that out of nowhere," interjected Cr Julia Finn.

"Most councils in Australia who have considered this issue have decided not to allow circuses with exotic animals to perform on their land for the very reason that it's inhumane and cruel."

During the debate, lord mayor John Chedid said the council should look at reviewing the policy and that the use of exotic animals in circus acts was "the whole fun of it", to which Cr Finn replied: "not for the animals".

Cr Finn described Cr Abood's request as "policy on the run" and "absolutely disgraceful".

"This isn't the time or the place to flippantly decide to change our policy," she said. "Elephants, lions and tigers do not belong living on the back of a semitrailer. If you have elephants performing, you have elephants tethered to the ground."

"No one here is promoting cruelty or abusing animals," Cr Chedid said.

Cr Lorraine Wearne said there was "not a lot of difference" if the animals were not mistreated.

"The reality is that there are many, many, many people that would support a full circus," Cr Wearne said.

In June 2006, Cr Finn initiated the ban against hiring parks, reserves and other council facilities to circuses which use "wild animals" in performances.

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