RSPCA attacks council's lifting of circus ban
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate used his casting vote to overturn the ban
(ABC TV News - file image)
By Russell Varley
Jan 31, 2013
The RSPCA says the Gold Coast City Council has taken a step into the past by overturning a ban on circuses with exotic animals on council-owned land.
Mayor Tom Tate used his casting vote to overturn the ban after the vote was deadlocked at 7-7.
Councillor Tracey Gilmore was not at the meeting.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty says the organisation is not suggesting people who have exotic animals in circuses deliberately mistreat them.
"We're simply saying that in this day and age, to go and see animals exhibit unnatural behaviours and try to even vaguely think that way you're learning about the habits of those exotic animals is just ridiculous," he said.
Mr Beatty says the council decision is disappointing.
"The fact that animals are transported around the country in what you can really only call the beast wagons is just not acceptable," he said.
"Obviously they can't go back to the wild per se, but they can at least in this day and age go to open plains zoos where people, children in particular, can go and see them exhibit their normal behaviours."
A number of people gathered outside the council chambers yesterday urging councillors to maintain the ban.
Cr Dawn Crichlow says the ban made no sense.
She says circuses have been allowed on private and government-owned land and the people have voted with their feet.
"We can't put bans on circuses on private property, so the circuses could still come to town but we had a ban just on council land, the ratepayers own that land, the ratepayers clearly said we want the circuses on our land, so I'm very pleased with the result," she said.
"After we put the ban on, Stardust Circus came to state-owned Parklands ... that was September 2011 and thousands went to that.
"Look, let the people decide whether or not they want to go to a circus."