NSW Government Fails Wild Animals in Circuses – and the Public

PETA-Commissioned YouGov Poll Shows 85% of Aussies Aged 18 to 34 Support a Ban

Sydney – The New South Wales government has failed wild animals and the state’s human residents, reporting that it won’t take action to ban or phase out the use of wild animals in circuses. This despite a recent YouGov poll commissioned by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that found that three-quarters of Australians – and 74% of New South Wales residents – support a ban on circuses keeping animals such as lions and monkeys.

The survey further found that 85% of Australians aged 18 to 34 support a ban, as do 80% of respondents with children living at home – statistics that prove that watching wild animals perform in circuses is no longer Australians’ idea of family entertainment.

PETA contends that a circus environment can never meet the fundamental physiological and psychological needs of wild animals. Lions, like those that Stardust Circus forces to perform, can roam vast areas in the wild, claiming territory and seeking out mates – but while touring with a circus, they’re confined to wagons or trucks for days at a time.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases in humans began in animals and that when animals are bred, confined, and in close contact with humans, there’s a risk that they’ll infect the community with zoonotic diseases, from salmonella and E coli to coronaviruses. Big cats can also contract COVID-19, and without specialist veterinarians on staff, it’s doubtful that a circus would be able to provide them with adequate care  if they were to fall ill in a circus setting.

“The New South Wales government has failed the wild animals who have long suffered in cages and on stages in circuses,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “But it has also failed the human residents of New South Wales who support a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. We’re urging the government to reconsider, listen to its constituents, and free exotic animals from spending their lives imprisoned and unable to engage in their natural behaviour.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist view of the world, notes that over 40 councils – most recently Blue Mountains City Council – and the entire Australian Capital Territory have already put a stop to circuses that force wild animals to perform.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.