By Cas Allan, 29 January 2013

Animal rights advocates today took their protest to the Gold Coast City Council chambers at Evandale.

Members of Coast to Coast Animal Friends gathered to protest against the overturning of Council’s 2009 ban on circuses with exotic animals using Council properties for their shows.

Speakers for the group included Simone Hewitt and Janet Scott who spoke of injustice and cruelty experienced by animals in circus conditions.

RSPCA Principal Scientist, Dr Mandy Paterson explained to the audience the pain and bewilderment felt by animals kept in cages that might otherwise live in trees or grasslands.

Councillors Chris Robbins and Jan Grew argued on behalf of their divisions that circuses with animals that were better suited to wild conditions would not be tolerated on the Gold Coast.

Cr Grew was heckled by Cr Dawn Crichlow when she urged parents to boycott circuses with exotic animals.

Cr Crichlow is one of five councillors who support the overturn of the council ban.

When Cr Crichlow took the stand she in turn was heckled by an animated audience and her message was inaudible to the majority.

In the background a small group of circus advocates lead by a well-known name in circus circles stood quietly allowing their placards to speak for them.

Shane Lennon of Lennon Brothers Circus led a small troupe of circus staff in a quiet stand against the protesters.

Coast to Coast Animal Friends speaker Janet Scott (left) and RSPCA Principal Scientist Dr Mandy Paterson at the Gold Coast City Council chambers rallying against the overturning of the 2009 ban of circuses with exotic animals using council land. January 29, 2013. Photo: Cas Allan

Coast to Coast Animal Friends speaker Janet Scott (left) and RSPCA Principal Scientist Dr Mandy Paterson at the Gold Coast City Council chambers rallying against the overturning of the 2009 ban of circuses with exotic animals using council land. January 29, 2013. Photo: Cas Allan

Placards held by the circus read “RSPCA and Libbers are Fibbers” and “Circus follows Facts and Law”.

Council met for its first meeting of the year this afternoon and the circus topic was high on the agenda.

Mayor Tom Tate’s vote was enough to tip the balance and the ban was overturned.

Gold Coast City Council and Lennon Brothers Circus have been contacted but as yet neither have provided comment.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
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