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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FROM AUSTRAILIA


RSPCA slams Cheltenham circus
Local News 23 Jun 10 by Nadja Poljo
Saigon is left standing in the mud on a wintry Melbourne day. THE RSPCA has attacked owners of a circus performing in Cheltenham for travelling with an elderly elephant.
Perry Bros circus is holding shows from a site at the corner of Bay and Reserve roads until July 11.
An angry Dr Hugh Wirth told the Leader it was “completely wrong” to keep 55-year-old Saigon separated from other elephants, on the road and on display.
“It’s about time they had respect for Saigon and stop this senseless travelling around the country,” Dr Wirth said.
Outraged readers wrote to the Leader describing the retired elephant’s living conditions as appalling.
Highett reader Alex Goddard said Saigon was “caged in an area in no way suitable for such a large, intelligent, herding animal”.
Aimee Phillips said she had visited the site and the elephant had looked “bored and unstimulated”.
But circus manager and family spokeswoman Yasmin Brophy said they had been unfairly targeted and Saigon was happiest when on the road with them.
“She is not lonely and is definitely not unhappy,” Ms Brophy said.
“She has been with our family for 49 years so why would we upset her for the last years of her life by moving her somewhere where she would be unhappy?”
Ms Brophy said Saigon could not go to a zoo because she would likely be attacked by other elephants.
Glenys Oogjes, from Animals Australia, said Saigon should be left on the family’s farm. But Ms Brophy said: “We are not prepared to just dump her at the property while we are away.”
Melbourne Zoo curator Jan Steele said zoo keepers observed Saigon in February at the request of Environment Minister Gavin Jennings.
“Saigon appeared to be in good health and condition for her age (but) she did appear overweight and one of her legs did appear to cause some discomfort,” she said.

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