Photos were taken by Katie Driver for Hudsons Circus. Phtots from Hudsons Circus website and Facebook page.
In the midst of a time when more and more towns, cities, states, and countries are making the humane decision to restrict or preferably ban completely the use of animals in circuses, it was especially surprising for WAN to learn about Hudsons Circus in Australia.
WAN expected the show, which is being touted as “a fantastic two-hour production that’s a new twist on traditional circus” to be animal-free.
Instead, Hudsons, which claims on its website that it is “Australia’s favorite family fun circus,” distinguishes itself for having world-class circus performers from around the world and fantastic animal acts featuring the likes of water buffaloes, camels, llamas, mountain ponies, and Brazilian macaws. The latter which are even available for people to take paid-for photos and selfies with during intermission.
According to one of many comprehensive lists compiled by animal welfare organizations, sadly, the only towns in Australia that have imposed a ban on using animals in circuses so far are Hobsons Bay, Surf Coast Shire, Parramata, and Lismore
Currently, the show which features “never-before-seen animal acts” is taking place in Cairns through the end of July. The fact that Cairns is a city located in North Queensland, makes this even more perplexing.
“People are learning to appreciate animals for themselves and are realizing that laughing at them being forced to imitate human behavior or perform acts that make the circus performer look brave is no longer acceptable,” Animal Liberation Queensland notes on its website. “With the regular showing of high-quality animal documentaries, we can see animals ‘performing’ naturally in the wild, which is far more entertaining and educational than any circus act.”
“Animals born into circuses, regardless of the number of generations, are captive-born wild animals that never lose the instincts and needs of wild animals. They retain their natural instincts to socialize and to roam freely,” continues the organization. “Circuses deny captive-born wild animals’ sufficient mental and physical stimulation, and space and opportunity to exhibit their natural behaviors.”
According to the Hudsons Circus website, though, their “animals are great performers because their routines are tailored to each one’s natural abilities and individual preferences which the trainers observe during their playtime,” noting that their “animals are trained through a system of reward and repetition and these behaviors are linked together on cue which ultimately becomes the routine you see at the show.”
What? Natural abilities and individual preferences?
There appears to be nothing natural about these poor animals’ forced performances.
I would also guess that if they had a preference, these animals would not be put in these awkward and exploitive circumstances but instead choose to live their lives in the wild or at a sanctuary as opposed to the “spacious” accommodations they are provided with while not performing or in their “luxury” trailer that transports them from one location to another.
“Our animals perform for only a few minutes each show and the rest of the time they are resting and socializing with each other,” the website continues also noting that Hudsons provides the highest standard of care to their animal partners and employs people that “devote their lives to living, working with, and caring for the animals 24 hours a day.”
Animal Liberation Queensland posts the following ways that people can help end this outdated and unnecessary practice of using innocent animals as entertainment during circuses:
Never attend circuses that use animals.
Circuses need council permits to use public land. Contact your local council to voice your opposition to these permits.
If circuses are held at private venues, please contact these venues and request that they reconsider their decision to allow circuses to use their facilities. Always remember to be polite in all your dealings with councils or private operators. Any abuse or aggressive behavior will not assist the campaign and can, in fact, damage it.
When circuses are in town, write to local papers expressing your disappointment and disgust at the use of animals in circuses.
If you notice a circus featuring animals in Queensland, contact Animal Liberation Queensland HERE!