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And the Silly September award goes to ...

And the Silly September award goes to ...

Posted 15 September 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: entertainment, pigs

So Silly September is something I just made up right now because I don't know about you but I reckon I've had more wtf moments than usual in the last few days over stoopid ideas people have had involving animals. So I've decided to give a Silly September award to my top 3 picks for dumb things that happened (or didn't happen) to animals this month.

Drum roll please ...

THIRD PLACE: Brisbane Lions

AFL team Brisbane Lions thought they'd try and drum up some interest in their bottom-of-the-ladder football team by bringing a real life lion to their games.

What happened: Aussies everywhere said NUUUPP! Because that's stupid. And the idea got scrapped. #PeoplePower!

My advice: If you want more footy supporters, play better footy.

WTF Rating:

wtf_true_blood.gif

(Pic thanks to Sportal)

SECOND PLACE: Pizza Hut, Mount Waverley

Buy 10 pizzas – get a free living, breathing 5-7 year commitment! Um, Pizza Hut ... what were you thinking?

What happened: Pizza Hut's customers cottoned on pretty darn quick that this was just plain stupid and flooded Pizza Hut's Facebook and Twitter pages with complaints. Pizza Hut Australia soon released a statement saying they'd never approved this 'promotion' and that the matter was "being seriously dealt with". (Uh oh. Someone's in trouble.)

Thankfully, not a single animal was given away before the stupidity was shut down.

My advice: If you want to sell more pizza, make better pizza.

WTF Rating:

omg_wtf.gif

(Pic thanks to Pedestrian)

AND THE WINNER IS: Commercial Hotel, Redbank

This one I just can't even. It's so dumb. There are reports that the Commercial Hotel in Redbank (QLD) not only held pig races to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation on the weekend, but they also gave away one of the piglets as a raffle prize :(

What happened: Animal Liberation Queensland caught wind of this and encouraged sensible, caring people to speak up!

The Leukaemia Foundation has since said that they've reviewed their fundraising guidelines and will make sure that any future events raising funds for them are animal-friendly. People power wins again!

My advice: Good raffle prizes = wine, fruit and movie tickets. BAD raffle prizes = frightened baby animals :(

WTF Rating:

nsh.gif

There's proof that when dumb ideas meet common sense, common sense can win! Let's hope these awards serve as a lesson to others to not do dumb things -- and to always speak out if you see dumb things happen!

Have you got another nomination for a Silly September award? Or a people power success story? Put it in the comments below. And thanks for every time you've been a voice for animals.

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5 reasons animals don't belong in tanks

5 reasons animals don't belong in tanks

Posted 27 June 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 2 Comments

Tags: marine parks, SeaWorld, dolphins, orcas, seals, sharks, entertainment

I'll admit, sometimes it's hard to tell if a shark is happy or sad. (Well, except for Bruce.) But I can tell you, that a tank is not nearly as much fun as the ocean for any marine animal. Here's 5 reasons to avoid marine parks and aquariums:

1. Because sad seals sucks.

520-seals-wild-v-captivity.jpg

2. Because if we love them we should leave them alone.

520-seals-wild-v-captivity.jpg

[Read enough? Make the pledge to never attend a marine park or aquarium now.]

3. Because it's just not natural.

520-dolphins-wild-v-captivity.jpg

4. Because orcas don't deserve to have their babies taken away from them.

520-orcas-wild-v-captivity.jpg

5. Because by simply not attending a marine park or aquarium you can help end this cruelty!

makethepledgeblue.jpg

These places only exist to "entertain" us. So if we don't go, they can't continue to exist. What's more, it's way cooler to interact with marine animals in their natural habitat. Check out these lucky tourists hanging out with a mother and baby whale :)

Do you know another reason not to attend a marine park or aquarium? Pop it in the comments below.

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Surf Coast Shire proposes ban on cruel animal circuses!

Surf Coast Shire proposes ban on cruel animal circuses!

Posted 30 May 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: circuses, elephants, entertainment, good news, exotic animals

The good news for animals is rolling in thick and fast lately! And the latest is that Surf Coast Shire Council has proposed a ban on circuses with caged exotic animals from performing in their local area :) This will make them the 36th council in Australia to take a stand against cruel animal circuses!

And good on them because animal circuses stink! (In more ways than one.) The life of a tiger or an elephant in a circus is a crappy one. They'll spend most of their time confined to small enclosures, often in isolation, being trucked around from place to place. What's more they can even be abused to get them to perform unnatural tricks. It's just not cool.

One of the Surf Coast Shire Councillors said that the local community was outraged about the treatment of a circus elephant in Torquay several years ago. The elephant was tied to a pole in extreme heat, and was seen swaying back and forth – a sign of psychological distress.

520-circuselephant.jpg

We had animal circuses come to town regularly where I grew up and I was always horrified to see elephants and tigers tied up or locked in cages in my neighbourhood. But back then I didn't realise that it was up to each individual council to decide whether or not animal circuses can set up tent on council land. So if you care about animals, and you're living in a place that still allows animal circuses to perform, you're in a unique position to be a strong voice for animals still forced to perform!

If you want your local council to be next to ban animal circuses send them an email today and explain to them why you think keeping animals in cages and making them perform for 'entertainment' is cruel and unnecessary. Click here to find contact details for your local council.

The other good news is that no matter where you live you can help make a difference for animals simply by deciding never to attend a circus which exploits animals for entertainment.

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Free Birds!

Free Birds!

Posted 28 November 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: Free Birds, turkeys, birds, whyveg, vegetarian, vegan, Woody Harrelson, film, video, entertainment

It’s no secret that I love cartoons, and I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I love animals ;) so you can imagine how excited I am for an animated movie about turkeys :) (especially one with a message of compassion):

How cute are those turkeys? You know where I’ll be when this hits cinemas early next year. Probs nosh down on some of this delish tofurkey beforehand :)

It’s no wonder that Jake and Reggie wanted to give their fellow turkeys a hand. We don’t have Thanksgiving here in Australia, but turkeys are by no means safe from the plate. Around 5-6 million turkeys are killed for their flesh in Australia every year. These birds spend their whole lives in large sheds, cramped in with loads of others. (Click here for everything you need to know about how turkeys raised for meat are treated and to sign the pledge to make kind choices.)

woody.jpg

Neat little fact about Free Birds: Jake is played by Woody Harrelson, who doesn’t eat turkeys OR any other animal :) In an interview with USA today, Harrelson joked, “I’ve been really studying for this part for a long time because I’ve been a vegan for 23 years. I had an instinct a long time ago: Don’t eat turkeys. Eventually you’re going to play one.” There ya go, straight from the turkey’s mouth - being veg could be a good professional move ;) Click on Woody’s head to kick-start your cruelty-free career today.

What other celebrities do you know of who are meat-free?

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WIN 2 tix to see Blackfish!

WIN 2 tix to see Blackfish!

Posted 7 November 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 42 Comments

Tags: whales, orcas, SeaWorld, entertainment, Blackfish, win, competition, contest, giveaway

OMG. I saw Blackfish during the Melbourne International Film Festival and when Madman Films offered us some free tix to giveaway we jumped at the offer. Blackfish is a doco about a performing killer whale named Tilikum who lives in captivity in SeaWorld, Orlando. It is sooooo ... well it’s very sad but also GREAT that Tilikum’s story is being told. Check out the trailer here:

This movie is already having a massive impact in the U.S. A poll by CNN found that 86% of people said they wouldn’t go to SeaWorld after learning about the cruelty of keeping killer whales in captivity. Orcas are highly social and active animals and keeping them in small tanks (in Tilikum’s case) in isolation is unacceptable.

Loads of celebrities are also speaking out against marine parks including Ellen Page, Leona Lewis and Russell Brand. Blackfish also inspired Pixar to change the ending of Finding Dory (to be released next year)!

It’s so exciting that this film is coming to cinemas on November 21, so that Tilikum’s story can continue to reach people. And what’s even more exciting is that YOU get the chance to see it for FREE!*

There's 10 freebie tix all up so we’ll be giving 2 tickets to 1 winner from each of the following states/territories – NSW, QLD, SA, ACT and Vic. (Sorry if you live in WA, NT or Tas but no cinemas are showing Blackfish as yet :( Why not get in touch with your local cinema and let them know that you’d love them to screen it?)

300-blackfish.jpg

SO, here’s how to win: Comment below with the coolest fact you know about killer whales. The ones that make my eyes pop out the most will be the winners :) The competition closes on Sunday 17th November so DON’T MISS OUT!

*The movie is only screening in 5 states/territories so please check the full list of venues below to make sure there’s one near you before entering the comp.

Screenings:

ACT Dendy Canberra
NSW Chauvel Cinema
  Dendy Newtown
QLD Gold Coast Arts Centre
  Palace Barracks
SA Palace Nova Eastend
VIC Cinema Nova

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Congratulations to the lucky winners of our Blackfish ticket giveaway! 

Have you seen the film? What did you think

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When Dory met Tilly.

When Dory met Tilly.

Posted 15 August 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: whales, orcas, SeaWorld, entertainment, Blackfish, Finding Dory, circuses

Last week I went to see the movie Blackfish. It’s a documentary about Tilikum, a whale who has been living in captivity in ‘amusement’ parks since he was 2 years old. If you missed it, here’s the trailer:

Needless to say, I cried and cried and wailed and snorted and hollered “Free Tilly” at the screen.

Orca whales are highly social animals, who swim many many kilometres per day. Yet, poor Tilikum is still living in a tiny tank in SeaWorld, Orlando. And he’s kept in isolation most of the time :(

Thankfully, I am not the only one who has been moved by this incredible documentary and there is hope for whales (and other captive animals) yet!

When the Pixar team saw Blackfish, they realised that captivity is not such a happy ending for animals. They sat down with Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and made some drastic edits to the script of Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo, due to be released in 2015). Although little is known of the story line as yet, Pixar has said that while characters do travel to a marine park, they will have the option to go back to the ocean if they choose.

freewilly.jpg

It’s not quite that simple in real life unfortunately BUT it is possible. Remember Free Willy? Willy was played by Keiko, and the movie had such an impact on the public that campaigning led to Keiko being moved to a sea-pen in Iceland waters where he eventually migrated to Norway. Although he was still cared for by professionals, he lived out the remainder of his life with a great deal of freedom.

Animal welfare groups in the U.S. are campaigning to get Tilikum released to a sea-pen and rehabilitated, just like Keiko. (You can add your name to the petition here).

But the best way that you can make a difference is by simply never visiting a marine park that makes animals perform. Just like rodeos and circuses that have animals, using animals for entertainment is unnecessary, and rarely provides animals with an environment that allows them to express their natural behaviours.

Despite the tears, it makes me so happy to see movies like Blackfish being made, exposing the significant problems with keeping wild animals in captivity. Have you seen any good animal documentaries lately? I’d love to hear about them.

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This Hangover hurts!

This Hangover hurts!

Posted 11 June 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: entertainment, giraffe, exotic animals

Would you like the good news or the bad news first?

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I'll start with the good news. The Capuchin monkey in the third instalment of the Hangover series seems to have given up smoking!*

The bad news is that director Todd Phillips has found a bunch of new ways to upset animal lovers. The cast of animal 'actors', in what is hopefully the last of the Hangover films, includes a giraffe, two dogs and a flock of roosters. And here's the real spoiler: all of the animals (the characters, not the 'actors') are dead by the end of the film.

The giraffe is beheaded on a freeway, the roosters are shot at, thrown out of the window or suffocated and the dogs have their necks broken. A FoxNews reviewer described the giraffe incident as an "unnecessary and cruel gag."


But what really gets under my skin, is not even the cheap 'gags' about animals, but the fact they decided to use real animals. Even though they used computer generated imagery (CGI) for the scene with the giraffe in the trailer, Phillips still dragged a real giraffe on set for filming.

200-giraffe-tongue.jpgIf I was a giraffe, there are a million and one ways I would choose to spend my days – practising rolling my GIANT tongue, popping my head through the branches of tall, tall trees and surprising birds, playing tag with my giraffe buddies ...

I would NOT choose to be in a movie studio, with a bunch of scary lights and noises and people telling me to do things that I don't understand. Giraffes are very sensitive animals and the one used for Hangover III had every reason to be stressed out and frightened.

The worst part is that it is completely unnecessary (and cruel) to use real animals in movie-making, especially given what they can do with CGI these days. Check out this video about the making of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, where no real apes were used:

"Acting should be left to actors," says Oscar award-winning Adrien Brody,"and that means human beings who have a choice in the matter." Brody voices the PETA ad which shows an extremely realistic and completely computer-generated ape.

Well said Adrien! Using animals in movies is no different to making them perform in the circus, which is why I will be giving Hangover Part III a miss.

What other great movies have you seen that use CGI instead of real animals?

*Crystal the monkey was trained to smoke a fake cigarette for Hangover II.

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Schoolies: You're doing it wrong.

Schoolies: You're doing it wrong.

Posted 26 November 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 10 Comments

Tags: monkeys, schoolies, entertainment, derp!

Every year during Schoolies celebrations (which are taking place right now) you hear of people doing some pretty dopey things. But these guys ... these guys take the cake.

Graduating from high school doesn't necessarily mean that you've learned the important things in life. Two students from Newcastle proved that this week while celebrating Schoolies in Bali. Chris and Jeremy decided that it wasn't enough just getting wasted at night and apparently losing all their t-shirts. They decided that buying a monkey and keeping him on a metal chain would be a good idea.

Let's make just a quick list about why that was NOT a good idea.

  • Long-tailed macaques prefer to hang out with other macaques, not a bunch of "bros" from NSW; and they often huddle together when sleeping at night to keep warm.
  • They would normally spend a large part of their day in trees, not on a metal chain on busy Bali streets.
  • Buying a monkey on the street encourages locals to catch more monkeys, taking them from their natural environment and keeping them confined. As the man who sold this monkey admitted, he has a "house full of monkeys".
  • Who knows what will happen to the monkey when these guys leave for home?? They're treating him as a novelty party piece which they can just dump and forget about when the party is over. Bali, Australia, wherever ... adopting an animal is a serious commitment, not something you do for a laugh or because "the ladies love it", as Chris puts it.

If you want to get your Drapht on and have a Bali Party - go for it. But there's no need to drag a monkey (or any other animal) into the mix. So for all you future schoolies or travellers, try to keep one thing in mind when overseas:

Don't be giving money to anyone who uses animals as part of a street-show! Simple as that. More likely than not the animal will be living a totally unnatural life, being forced to perform with no end in sight. This is the case with elephants on Thai streets, monkeys in Indonesia and bears in Cambodia. The temptation to give money to try and help the animals might be overwhelming, but your money really just encourages the practise to continue.

If you want to make a positive difference for animals when travelling, why not consider volunteering somewhere like Elephant Nature Park (ENP) in northern Thailand? Supported by Animals Australia member society Animal Aid Abroad Inc, ENP provides sanctuary to dozens of elephants rescued from performing on streets or in logging camps. And that's bound to leave better memories than keeping a monkey on a chain for a week!

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What's the difference between Michael Phelps and a dolphin...?

What's the difference between Michael Phelps and a dolphin...?

Posted 15 August 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: dolphins, orcas, Seaworld, cetaceans, entertainment

... one of them actually enjoys being in a pool.

With the Olympics done and dusted for another four years (good job, London) I was interested to read this story about half-man, half-fish Michael Phelps.

Yeah, ok - it's not a real story, but it's a pretty funny read. What isn't so funny is the fact that around the world, 1000s of whales and dolphins ("cetaceans" if you wanna impress your friends) are captured from the wild and delivered to oceanariums. There they'll live out their days in tiny tanks, sometimes being trained to perform tricks for human entertainment.

Everyone knows dolphins are amongst the smartest animals on Earth. They play with each other and body-surf at the beach; they've been observed wrapping their "noses" in sponge when searching for food to prevent grazes (c'mon, we've all been there!); and this is what blows me away: dolphins in a pod will stay with sick or injured friends, even pushing them up to the surface to breathe if they can't do it themselves!!

Locking cetaceans into tanks at SeaWorlds around the globe is pretty much like giving them a life sentence in prison. Just think of how huge the oceans are, and how far dolphins and whales would swim in a day. Imagine all the things they'd see and experience in a lifetime! Now think of how desperately bored and cooped up they must feel spending day and night in tanks not even a fraction the size of their natural habitat. Sucks, doesn't it?

As long as dolphins and whales are kept locked up in tanks for human entertainment and their best interests aren't taken into account, we're going to keep seeing stories like the one where two dolphins died after a rave was allowed right next to their pool. (Whaaat?!) Or despite the fact that there has not been a single recorded instance of a wild orca ever seriously injuring or killing a human, a captive orca in the US has now killed three people in separate incidents. There is also the sad story of Kuru the dolphin who jumped out of her tank during a show.

Like rodeos and circuses that still use animals, the easiest way you can make a difference is simply to not visit marine parks that feature animal performances.

There must be a hundred different ways you can see and interact with animals that aren't harmful. Volunteer at a native wildlife rescue and rehab centre or animal refuge. How about snorkelling or scuba diving? You're not going to see a man standing on a dolphins back ... but really, who would wanna see that anyway??

Got any stories of seeing dolphins or whales in the wild? We'd love to hear them in the comments.

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Lion cubs spared from the circus!
Posted By

Lion cubs spared from the circus!

Posted 23 February 2012   by         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: Circuses, lions, activism, exotic animals, entertainment

Right, it's confirmed - Animals Australia Unleashed members are the best ever!

Thanks to stacks of emails sent by you guys to Darling Downs Zoo, two innocent little lion cubs have been spared the cruelty of a life in a travelling circus!

When our big sis Animals Australia broke this story last month, you helped us make it spread like wildfire across Facebook and Twitter and eventually the owners of the cubs listened to the community's views and did the right thing.

Had the original plan gone through, adorable Spike and gorgeous Spot would have faced a life on the road in a small boring enclosure without any opportunity to act like lions.

I'm sure you're as thrilled as we are, and this really goes to show just what can be achieved through PEOPLE POWER!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, two older lions have just been rescued from a French Circus and are settling in at a Wildlife Park in the UK. Brutus and Clarence are now learning how to be lions again - something that, thanks to you, Spike & Spot may never have to do.

Don't forget to take the pledge to help end circus cruelty by clicking here!

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Caged and Consumed - Amazing Exhibition in Melbourne!

Caged and Consumed - Amazing Exhibition in Melbourne!

Posted 29 August 2011   by Jesse         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: art, exhibition, photography, entertainment, meat

I don't know about you, but I dig art with a message - something that challenges people to think, and maybe even look at the world from a new perspective. And when the topic is animals... well all the better!

Right now, the Obscura Gallery, in St Kilda, Melbourne is hosting just such an exhibition of photography. The very talented Kelly Hussey-Smith and Erin Burnett have contributed to create the exhibition Caged and Consumed - exploring the relationship between humans and other animals and particularly how they are used for entertainment and food. Check out these great photos from the exhibition:









Powerful pics, aren't they! If you live in Melbourne and want to see the rest of these stunning images, then hurry down to Obscura Gallery, First Floor, 285 Carlisle St, East St Kilda. The exhibition has only a couple of weeks left.

What did you think of the photos? Got any artists you really admire? Leave a comment.

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Brits Score a Win for Circus Animals!
Posted By

Brits Score a Win for Circus Animals!

Posted 29 June 2011   by         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: circuses, exotic animals, victory, England, entertainment

Have you heard the good news? Last week British MPs voted to ban exotic animals from circuses from next year! Hip Hooray!

Facing opposition as fierce as a lion's roar from the British Prime Minister, the people power of the backbenchers won out in the end, with a unanimous vote to end circus cruelty.

Just why the PM was trying to block a ban is a mystery. After all, animals in circuses live a pretty depressing life; being carted across country in small barren travelling cages, being forced to live in tiny enclosures when the circus is in town. Often these animals revert to swaying from side to side or biting the bars of their cages - behaviour that signals stress and boredom.

The circus life is a far cry from their natural habitat, and gives wild animals virtually zero chance of expressing their natural behaviours. So it's a good thing the pollies in the UK seem to be on the ball (and not a balancing ball!).

England will follow progressive countries like Portugal and Bolivia in banning exotic animals from circuses. In Australia, several councils have imposed their own bans while they wait for the federal government here to catch up. Ipswich, Ku-Ring-Gai and the Gold Coast are just a few of the councils that would rather see truly talented acrobats performing tricks than miserable monkeys or tormented tigers.

Hands down, the best circus I have ever seen is Cirque Du Soleil and not one animal in sight! They're gonna be around next month, and I highly recommend you check them out. But if you can't see one of those shows you can still pledge to protect animals from circuses and only attend animal-friendly circuses. You could even write to your local council and ask them to join the growing list of animal-free circus destinations.

What's the best circus you've ever seen? Or, the worst?

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No One is Safe from Jumps Racing!

No One is Safe from Jumps Racing!

Posted 5 May 2011   by Jesse         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: Jumps racing, horse racing, take action, entertainment, horses, video

Ok, so I knew jumps racing was dangerous and often deadly for the horses, but I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this footage from yesterday's 'Grand Annual Steeple' (more like Grand Disaster!) at Warrnambool Racing Carnival:

Seven people (including a toddler, an 80yr old woman and a 12yr old girl) were injured when Banna Strand jumped that 2m fence and plunged into the crowd.

With five horses already killed after falling during races across VIC and SA this year [Update 20/05/11: Another 2 horses have since died, bringing the total deaths to seven horses in seven weeks.], and now seven people injured, it's high time this recklessly dangerous and cruel sport was put down for good. Please take a moment today to click here and send a letter to the ministers of SA and VIC (the only 2 states foolish enough to allow this cruelty) calling for a ban on jumps racing (and yes, you can still send another letter, even if you have sent one before - maybe just change the letter content a little).

Please also take a moment to vote for a ban to jumps racing in these opinion polls:

  1. The Age (Age poll #1 closes TODAY)
  2. The Age (Age poll #2)
  3. Fox Sports
  4. WA Today
  5. The Brisbane Times
  6. The Herald Sun
  7. The Daily Telegraph
  8. The Advertiser
  9. The Weekly Times
  10. 7PM Project

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Jumps Racing Claims More Victims - Take Action!
Posted By

Jumps Racing Claims More Victims - Take Action!

Posted 3 May 2011   by         Permalink | 38 Comments

Tags: jumps racing, horse racing, take action, entertainment, horses, video, Warrnambool

This year's jumps racing season has barely started and five horses are already dead They're heading into week 6 now and the odds are stacked against the horses. Those racing in jumps races are at up to 20 time great risk of injury or death than horses in flat races.

The Warrnambool Racing Carnival started today. This 'spectacle' features a steeplechase that covers 5500 metres and includes 33 jumps. Can you imagine running that far with a person on your back and having to clear jumps at the same time? It's a tough ask, and tired, exhausted horses often fall suffering terrible injuries. No wonder there's already been one death today. Sadly, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 'green screen' come out again in the next few days.

You can help stop this carnage! Here's a few simple ways how:

RIP Casa Boy
RIP Hammerblow
RIP Squire Rex
RIP Java Star
RIP Shine the Armour

[Update 20/05/11: Another 2 horses have since died, bringing the total deaths to seven horses in seven weeks.]

Let's hope they end this cruelty before this list gets any longer!

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Help Pull Strings to Stop Circus Cruelty!
Posted By

Help Pull Strings to Stop Circus Cruelty!

Posted 16 March 2011   by         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: animal circuses, exotic animals, entertainment, posters, petition, activism

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town! Come along to stare at the bearded lady, marvel at the amazing acrobats on the highwire, laugh at the clowns and cry when you see the miserable performing monkeys, lions, tigers and bears ... oh my! Stop! The show mustn't go on!

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How great is this clever ad by Italian animal rights group, the LAV? Just like a puppet on a string, an animal in a circus is forced to perform whether he wants to or not. And I bet he'd rather not. I mean, who would want to sit in a tiny barren enclosure, only to be let out to perform ridiculously humiliating 'tricks' that he would never do in the wild?

Travelling between towns is no fun for him either - cooped up for days on end in the back of trains or trucks. It's no surprise that many animals kept this way develop worrying habits like pacing, swaying, or biting the cage bars.

We want to see cruel animal circuses go the way of the dinosaurs, and we're starting with New South Wales! Animals Australia, together with Animals Asia and RSPCA NSW want the whole state to get rid of this outdated practice (I refuse to use the word 'entertainment').

If you're in NSW, you can help! Print out this petition and get it chock full of signatures and send it back by May 1st. It's going straight to the top to be tabled in the NSW parliament by the Lord Mayor of Sydney!

Councils like Ku-Ring-Gai and Lismore in NSW and Ipswich and Gold Coast in QLD have already banned circuses with exotic animals so we know it can be done! Once you've done your part, click here to let us know!

Not in NSW? You can still help by taking the pledge to end circus cruelty. Ask your local council to ban animal circuses or write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Animal cruelty is just not entertaining. What would you rather see in a circus?

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YOU DID IT! Nova pulls cruel animal stunt!

YOU DID IT! Nova pulls cruel animal stunt!

Posted 15 March 2011   by Karen         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: entertainment, scorpion, radio, victory

...why the happy dance? I'll tell you why! Thanks to a flood of messages from Animals Australia and Unleashed supporters who know animal cruelty when they see it, Nova FM Sydney has agreed to abandon a week-long stunt involving animals who would be brought into the studio to bite or sting show host Merrick Watts!

A video posted on the radio program's website yesterday showed an agitated rainforest scorpion provided by Sydney Wildlife World being poked, prodded, screamed at and dropped onto the studio floor -- all in the name of 'entertainment'!

We are pleased that on this occasion Nova FM has listened to public concern and has since reconsidered the this ill-conceived stunt. Nova today informed Animals Australia not only that plans to torment animals on air for the remainder of the week have been shelved, but also that pictures and video of the cruel stunt will be removed from their website. What a relief!!

All animals deserve to be treated with kindness, whether they're fluffy, scaly, or even scary.

Please send a brief message to Nova FM either on their Facebook page, or via Twitter to thank them for their decisive action!

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Kangaroos Should Not be Boxed In!
Posted By Jane

Kangaroos Should Not be Boxed In!

Posted 2 August 2010   by         Permalink | 9 Comments

Tags: entertainment, kangaroos, boxing, Texas, rant, circuses

When I think of boxing kangaroos I think of enormous male red roos, fighting each other in truly awe inspiring displays of dominance.

Unfortunately, the words 'boxing kangaroo' make too many people think of the cartoonish image of a roo wearing boxing gloves. In Texas, the Rocky Show Circus has taken this image way too far, by not only making a real kangaroo wear boxing gloves, but also boxing shorts, and then forcing him into an actual boxing ring to spar with people. How demeaning to such a magnificent animal!

Long suffering 'Rocky' the roo, frightened audiences recently by knocking over a woman, crazy enough to get in the ring with him, before trying to mount her. In one news article about the incident, an expert said that Rocky was displaying 'natural' behaviour!

Hmph! If you ask me, there is absolutely nothing natural about a rambunctious roo being kept in captivity! Kangaroos are highly social animals but Rocky never even gets to lay eyes on another hopper. Roos are also shy by nature, yet Rocky is expected to box strangers in front of a crowd. Rocky could reach speeds of up to 70km/hr in the wild, but in this farcical circus, his muscular hind legs, adapted for marvellous jumping, are wasted because of his restrictive environment. It's no surprise that he's showing some frustration.

Too many animals used for human entertainment display abnormal behaviours. A beautiful elephant rocking back and forth in boredom; a massive killer whale swimming round and round in circles in his tank; a caged bird, never allowed to fly, pulling out her feathers ... You get the idea.

Rocky should be in a mob happily bounding around the open plains of Australia. Not wearing a costume in a boxing ring in Texas!

Once you get past the many spelling mistakes on their website, I'm sure you'll agree the Rocky Show Circus actually looks way more exciting when Rocky isn't even on stage! Please click here to send the organisers a message to let them know their circus would be so much better if they cut out the cruelty, and binned the boxing!

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Catalonia Votes on Bullfighting!
Posted By Jane

Catalonia Votes on Bullfighting!

Posted 27 July 2010   by         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: Bullfighting, entertainment, vote, Spain, Catalonia, bulls, sport, cow

Today the Catalonian Government in Spain is voting on whether or not to ban bullfighting in that region. And here's some numbers they can't ignore:

Over 120 countries around the world have voiced their support for a ban, with the parliament receiving over 140,000 signatures and emails (including nearly a thousand from Unleashed members!) to back this up. Local people too, have had their say with over 180,000 Catalans expressing that this outdated 'tradition' is nothing but animal cruelty.

Numbers aside there is simply no excuse to torture an animal in the name of entertainment.

If this ban is approved, Catalonia will stand apart from the rest of Spain with a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated and if you are one of the many to speak up for the bulls - THANK YOU!

Unleashed is keeping a close eye on the outcome of the vote and will let you know the news as soon as possible! Watch this space!

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Why Dolphins Were Never Meant to Be Locked Up

Why Dolphins Were Never Meant to Be Locked Up

Posted 27 July 2010   by Sim         Permalink | 9 Comments

Tags: dolpins, whales, Sea World, entertainment, circuses, The Cove

A couple of weeks ago, in Japan, Kuru the dolphin jumped out of her tank during a show at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Former dolphin trainer (from Flipper) turned dolphin advocate and star of The Cove, Ric O'Barry has said "The habitat of that [dolphin] is so unnatural it leapt out of the tank in desperation. It wanted to end it. Why does a person jump out of a building?" Ric may have a point.

While this footage is shocking, it must be a common enough occurrence, since the handlers keep mats around the aquarium's edge to minimise injury when the animals do this exact thing! And why wouldn't she want out?

Each year thousands of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) are captured from the wild and placed into small tanks in 'Sea Worlds' around the globe. The animals are then taught to perform tricks for human entertainment. Basically its a circus for cetaceans. But most people never hear about the horrendous conditions these animals are made to endure.

Like other animals in circuses, these animals dont belong in prisons, but that's what many marine parks are. Everything about a whale or dolphin's life in captivity is restrictive. Dolpins and whales swim dozens and in some cases upwards of a hundred kilometres in a day. Yet in captivity their tanks are often so small that it only takes them a few seconds to swim from end to end. Many of these highly social animals are kept in solitary confinement. And for animals that rely on sonar, their small tanks must be like deafening echo-chambers.

To combat stress related ulcers and 'behavioural problems' these animals are often fed a cocktail of antibiotics and other drugs. Even still, most dolphins in captivity don't live to 20 years (less than half of their natural lifespan), and most orca whales, who could live to be 90+ in the wild, don't live past 10 years of age in captivity.

So it would come as little surprise if Kuru was hoping to end it the other week.

I'm sure you'd agree that locking any animal in a tiny enclosure and forcing them to perform tricks is cruel. Kuru and her cetacean buddies deserve a better life. Just like animal circuses, the strongest message we can send to marine parks with animal performances is simply not to visit them. We can all make a difference and give animals a better life.

What do you think about what happened with Kuru?

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Running of the Bulls: A Tragic 'Tradition'!
Posted By Jane

Running of the Bulls: A Tragic 'Tradition'!

Posted 5 July 2010   by         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: entertainment, bulls, Pamplona, Spain, bullfighting, Running of the Bulls, sport, tourism, cow, take action

With amazing drawcards like flamenco dancing and the incredibly fun Tomatina Festival (basically just a massive food fight with tomatoes!) you'd think Spain wouldn't need any other crazy attractions to bring in the tourist dollars.

But unfortunately, the utterly cruel and outdated Running of the Bulls is taking place this week in Pamplona....

Each day of the week-long festival, 12 terrified animals are forced to run, slipping and sliding, often breaking limbs, down ancient cobble stoned streets and into a bullring. A hoard of taunting humans run ahead of the bulls, themselves risking serious injury or death.

Once in the bullring, the already exhausted animal faces a matador, who teases and taunts him before driving spears into his back and neck. As the bull loses blood he becomes weaker and finally collapses. Then the matador delivers the final blow, severing his spinal cord with a dagger. Sometimes the matador misses, leaving the bull conscious, paralysed and in sheer agony while being dragged off by the horns. Hardly a bull fight. This is a bull massacre!

Whether it's bull 'riding' in Australia, or bull 'fighting' in Spain, teasing and tormenting frightened animals has got to be one of the lowest excuses for 'entertainment' ever.

If you think Spain's Ministry of Tourism needs to be more creative in attracting tourists, send them a letter and tell them you will never visit a country that advertises bloodthirst and carnage as a 'fun' event!

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Camels don't need cups!
Posted By Jane

Camels don't need cups!

Posted 24 June 2010   by         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: Racing, Camels, exotic animals, entertainment, rant

...they have humps to carry their drinks in, right?

Try telling that to the organisers of the annual Camel Cup held in July in Alice Springs, who bill a day of camel racing as a fun family event.

Update 04/07/11: Sadly, this silly race is on again in 2011, scheduled to run on Saturday 9th of July

I couldn't help but wonder after stumbling across this spectacle online, who would dream up such a camel crazy idea. I wasn't really surprised to learn that it was two blokes who'd had too much to drink at the pub one night! An intoxicated idea is very rarely a good one!

OK, so the thought of a camel race may be funny, but to actually see it, and the boofhead spectators laughing their heads off at the poor animals, is actually pretty sad.

It's bad enough that people race horses and greyhounds, but now they want to subject docile dromedaries to uncomfortable saddles and lashing whips as well?!

The ridiculous racing event, previously sponsored by Coles [Update 04/07/11: Coles now seem to have seen the light and no longer sponsor the race. Woo!] and XXXX Gold among others, also features dull dudes and dopey damsels vying for the titles of Mr and Miss Camel Cup. I'm not kidding! The guys have to walk like a camel and the girls have to display their knowledge of camel fun facts.

There's also Rickshaw Races, Kids Kamel Kapers and the "hilarious" Honeymoon Handicap ... clearly a plain camel race is not entertaining enough, they feel the need to rob the animals of every single ounce of dignity they have!

I bet if you asked a camel what he thought of The Cup, he'd happily spit in your face!

Oh and here's a fun fact. A camel's hump actually holds fat reserves, not water at all. But I'm sure Miss Camel Cup already knew that!

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Children of All Ages Delighted by Enslavement of Topsy the Elephant

Children of All Ages Delighted by Enslavement of Topsy the Elephant

Posted 4 June 2010   by Jesse         Permalink | 7 Comments

Tags: circuses, exotic animals, The Onion, funny, elephants, entertainment

I still remember being taken to the circus as a kid. One of the things I remember most about the circus were the elephants. I remember how they were dressed up with cloaks and head-dresses. I remember they even put glitter on them! I also remember how those gentle giants performed the cutest tricks (or at least I thought so at the time) with just a small tap on the side from their trainer.

Something I never realised at the time was that those elephants were performing such unnatural and awkward tricks because they had spent countless hours in 'training', being beaten with a hook if they refused to perform. I also never realised till years later, that the glitter that made the elephants all the more spectacular when I was a child was probably hiding 'training' wounds.

Is there any bigger facade than animal circuses? Children watch in innocent amazement as wild animals are dressed up and tormented for their entertainment. I wish I'd known the truth then. I never would have gone along with it.

So yesterday, I was glad to read the headline "Children of All Ages Delighted by Enslavement of Topsy the Elephant" on the front page of the satirical news site, The Onion. This story is at the same time shocking, hilarious and spot on. It's well worth a read...

Here are a few of the best snippets from the article:

"He's such a funny happy elephant," said 8-year-old Madison Helms, referring to the abused creature that spends the majority of his time chained up in a cramped, feces-covered enclosure. "He loves being in the circus!"

"Look, they're dancing," said 5-year-old Jonah Meeks, mistaking the elephants' constant swaying for something that wasn't a maladaptive behavior caused by serious psychological trauma. "I can dance like an elephant, too. Look at me!"

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If Horses Could Talk (And Shoot!?)
Posted By Jane

If Horses Could Talk (And Shoot!?)

Posted 26 May 2010   by         Permalink | 16 Comments

Tags: Jumps racing, horse racing, take action, entertainment, horses, video, funny

Have you ever broken a bone? I have, I was 5 and I broke my collar bone at school - YEEEOUCH!! Lucky I'm not a horse, that's all I can say! Because if I was, I wouldn't be here to tell the tale...

We've all seen it far too often. Horse after horse breaking bones from falls in jumps races. These poor guys don't have the luxury of a loving family who'll nurse them back to health. But then, a loving family wouldn't force you to perform a death defying spectacle for their entertainment, now would they?

I wonder what was going through the mind of poor Sirrocean Storm (RIP), when he broke his hind leg in a jumps race at Warnambool, a few weeks ago. I wonder if he dreamt of doing something like this:

...you couldn't blame him if he did!

If you want to help stop horses from being needlessly injured and 'humanely euthanised' please write to the VIC and SA Racing Ministers and tell them to put an end to this unfair abuse of gentle animals.

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2 More Horses Die In Jumps Racing

2 More Horses Die In Jumps Racing

Posted 7 April 2010   by Jesse         Permalink | 10 Comments

Tags: jumps racing, horse racing, horses, Victoria, South Australia, entertainment, take action, rant

I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but another 2 horses were killed in a jumps race over the Easter break - this time in SA. And what was the Racing Minister's response? "Although it's extremely disappointing that we've had the loss that we've had, it doesn't mean that jumps racing should be banned as a result of one incident."

Gah! I don't even know where to begin...

But wait, I suppose he's got a point. We shouldn't just take this one incident into consideration when deciding the fate of jumps racing. We should probably also consider the fact that 11 horses died in jumps races across Victoria and South Australia last year.

Surely they should have worked it out by now: horse + jumps racing = bad idea. Is this so hard to get? You'd think the body count on the track would give it away. They've tried raising the jumps, lowering the jumps, hardening the jumps, softening the jumps. And still horses fall and die. So why not try banning the jumps? Something tells me that might work!

If you're as sick of seeing horses die for the sake of entertainment as I am, then please click here to send the Ministers for Racing in Vic and SA a letter to tell them to ban this cruel sport.

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Saigon Still on the Road :(

Saigon Still on the Road :(

Posted 14 March 2010   by Jesse         Permalink | 17 Comments

Tags: Saigon, exotic animals, animal circuses, elephants, entertainment, Perry Bros Circus

Unfortunately, the good news for Australia's last circus elephant was short lived. Despite a huge public plea to retire Saigon, and despite advising Animals Australia that they would take her home after their last string of shows, Perry Bros have now announced on their website that they will be carting Saigon off to Bayswater for their next set of shows.

After 50 years on the road, Saigon deserves a better life than to spend another month locked in a small barren enclosure, with traffic rushing by and a shopping centre for a view.

And so Animals Australia's campaign to free Australia's last circus elephant must be taken to the next level, and all options will be considered including: public advertising, demonstrations, and pressure on the government of VIC to catch up to other states and ban circuses from keeping solitary elephants.

If you haven't signed the petition to 'Free Saigon' yet, please take this opportunity to add your name. If you have, then please print out a copy and get all your friends to sign as well (and then post the sheets back to the office: 37 O'Connell st, North Melbourne, VIC 3051).

Thanks for your support with this campaign!

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How to Break a Baby Elephant

How to Break a Baby Elephant

Posted 17 December 2009   by Karen         Permalink | 28 Comments

Tags: exotic animals, animal circuses, bull hooks, elephants, entertainment, Ringling Bros.

Animal circuses have long wanted us to believe that exotic animals that are forced to perform under the big top do so because they 'love' to perform. They wanted us to believe that circus animals are well cared for, and learn those unnatural and demeaning 'tricks' through 'reward systems' - and not through violence, and fear of punishment.

But seriously, how DO you get a wild 3.5 tonne animal to abandon its natural behaviours in favour of standing on her head in front of noisy crowds and gawking children? The late former Ringling Bros. elephant handler-turned-whistleblower Sam Haddock shines some light on the 'methods' used to break the spirits of baby elephants at the Ringling "conservation center" (elephant breeding and training centre) in Florida:


See more photos at RinglingBeatsAnimals.com

There is a reason it takes a whistleblower to get these images to the public. Tying up baby elephants, using electric prods and jabbing them with painful 'bull hooks' don't exactly make pretty pictures. Ringling and other animal circuses know that people would refuse to pay to see animals perform if they had any idea what really happens to these animals when the costumes come off and the audience goes home. And if you're hoping it might be any better for animals down under, think again...

John Le Mare, who is the Executive Secretary of the Circus Federation of Australia, claimed earlier this year that "There is no need to have [animals] doing anything other than variations on natural behaviour during play and socialisation". Fooled yet? He then said: "Ringling Bros Circus in the United States, for example, has its own elephant breeding program, and is likely to come up with new techniques for the care and training of many animals over the next year or so. That will push us to have another hard look at what we're doing here and improve animal welfare in Australian circuses even further by adopting some of those practices..."(source)

If Australia is taking animal welfare tips from notorious animal abusers like Ringling, then the future is bleak for the many remaining prisoners of Australia's animal circuses. These animals are relying on us. If you know anyone who attends animal circuses, please show them these pictures! And if you see an animal circus coming to your town, contact your local council immediately and ask them to follow the lead of other caring towns that have stood up to animal abuse and banned exotic animal circuses from performing on their land.

For the elephants <3

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Jumps Racing Put Down in Victoria!

Jumps Racing Put Down in Victoria!

Posted 27 November 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 21 Comments

Tags: jumps racing, Victoria, Victory, horse racing, horses, Coalition for the Protection of Race Horses, activism, demonstration, entertainment, South Aust

Today marks the end of an 'era' in horse racing. Or should I say an error! Yes, definitely an error - forcing horses to jump over hurdles at full speed was always a bad idea. But the good news this morning is that Racing Victoria has announced they will cease to run jumps races at the end of the 2010 season! *sigh of relief*

This decision will spare horses the miserable fate of broken legs, broken necks, and other injuries from falls during jumps races. So after a brilliant campaign by the Coalition for the Protection of Race Horses, the racing industry has finally faced up to the fact that jumps racing is cruel (not that an industry that kills thousands of horses every year just for being too slow has much to be proud of!).

Hats off to the Coalition; hats off to all those who attended demonstrations; and hats off to you, if you're one of the nearly 8000 Animals Australia and Unleashed supporters who sent letters calling for an end to jumps racing!

If you've got a moment today, you might want to send Racing Victoria an email ([email protected]) congratulating them for getting rid of cruel jumps races. For Victoria to end jumps racing is a huge milestone! They were the largest of only 2 Aussie states that still permitted this cruel 'sport'. And so onward and upward! Now it's time for South Australia to step up and ditch jumps racing!

You might also like to let the Racing Minister for SA, Michael Wright ([email protected]), know that they're letting down the team and should ban jumps racing too!

And if you live in Adelaide, next Tuesday (1st December) is your chance to join a demonstration to put the heat on SA to end jumps racing! There will be a peaceful protest happening on the steps of Parliament House to coincide with the submission of a petition, signed by 4,000 SA residents, calling for an end to jumps racing. Here are the details:

Where: Steps of Parliament House North Terrace Adelaide
When: Tuesday December 1 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm
Wear: Smart/casual (preferably black/dark colour)

Hope you can make it along!

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The Show is Over in Portugal
Posted By Jeroen

The Show is Over in Portugal

Posted 22 October 2009   by         Permalink | 7 Comments

Tags: exotic animals, animal circuses, Portugal, entertainment, victory

Don't you just love culture! It brings the best out of humans. Bullfighting, horse racing, rodeos, fox hunting, pig wrestling, bear baiting, anything goes as long as it is 'culture'!

Another well preserved cultural form of animal cruelty is the animal circus. Ever been to one? I have many times (for work) and it breaks my heart every time to see the animals living in such disgraceful conditions. Elephants chained by two legs most of the day, standing in their own excrement; lions, tigers, monkeys locked in cages where they can do nothing more than walk a few steps.

But this cruel excuse for 'entertainment' is increasingly becoming banned around the world and the latest country to show some progressive thinking is ... Portugal. ... huh? The same Portugal where they still love their bullfights? Yes, that Portugal! After long running campaigns such as this brilliant advertising campaign (see bottom this blog for more of the ads), the Portuguese Prime Minister last week signed a law which immediately bans the use of great apes in circuses and makes it illegal for circuses to breed their exotic animals or acquire new ones. This in effect means that exotic animals in circuses will soon be history in Portugal. Way to go Premiero Ministro!

That might leave you wondering: What's happening in Australia? Well, some councils have finally introduced bans on exotic animal circuses. But state and federal governments are still stuck in the middle ages. In fact, they even promote them on their website, saying: "Australia is a world leader in the care of circus animals". I can assure you the world would be in a pretty sad state if all animals were treated as 'well' as Australian circus animals!

If you've got a moment to spare, you might like to write to your local council, or your local MP to urge them to follow Portugal's compassionate lead and ban animal circuses.

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Give Horses a Break

Give Horses a Break

Posted 11 September 2009   by Karen         Permalink | 20 Comments

Tags: horse racing, horses, whips, entertainment, rant

Jockeys are up in (short, little) arms at the moment because they are not alowed to whip their horses as often as they want to. Yep yesterday jockeys in VIC, NSW, QLD and WA walked off the job in protest of new rules that came in last month that restricted the number of times they can whip horses during races.

If you watch the sky news video, you'll see the Australian Jockeys Association complain that it's "unreasonable" to "burden" jockeys with having to count how many times they've hit their horses.

Uhmm ... Unreasonable!?

'Unreasonable' is what you call the standard practice of killing a horse who falls and breaks his leg on track because he is no longer considered 'profitable'.

'Unreasonable' is sending 20,000 horses to knackeries every year to be slaughtered. Their crime? They weren't fast enough :-(

'Unreasonable' is that studies show that race horses often suffer deep, bleeding gastric ulcers when forced to eat a concentrated and unnatural 'race' diet, and that one study showed that 90% of horses have blood in their lungs from over exertion.

'Unreasonable' is leaving a horse to spend up to 22 hours a day isolated in a stall, deprived of social contact and mental stimulation.

'Unreasonable' is allowing jockeys to whip horses at all, when whipping an animal off a racetrack would be illegal! (Do they think it hurts less, if they're in a race...?)

'Unreasonable' is a jumps racing trainer threatening to send his decapitated horse's head to the racing minister if the brutal sport was banned!

'Unreasonable' is expecting anyone to believe that horse racing is anything but a brutal and cut-throat industry... (warning: contains some graphic scenes).

Perhaps we can hope that those angry jockeys stay on strike ... it might be the quickest way to give these horses the break they deserve!

So whilst the jockeys are doing their bit, here are two quick ways you can help horses today:

  • Vote "Hell No!" in news.com.au's poll asking 'Should jockeys be allowed to whip more than three times in a row in the last 200m?'
  • Share this video with any race-going friends to show them the hidden reality behind the glamourous face of horse racing, and ask them not to bet on cruelty!

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Time to Put Down Jumps Racing
Posted By Ward

Time to Put Down Jumps Racing

Posted 26 August 2009   by         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: jumps racing, demo, victory, activism, Liv Nixon, entertainment, horses

Jumps racing is BIG news down here in Vic at the moment. It has been splashed across newspapers and evening news bulletins throughout the year, with some pro-jumps people threatening to cut off their horses' heads if the sport is banned! Talk about losing your cool, butchy.

Just a quick rundown on the issue:

  • 13 horses have already died in jumps racing this season, many more have fallen and been seriously injured.
  • Despite a review and yet more 'safety' measures, this jumps racing season has had the highest death rate on record.
  • 3 out of 4 horses that raced in 2008 have not reappeared in 2009 and are presumed dead.

So now for some good news: After writing to self-noted animal lover Livinia Nixon about owning a jumps horse, she has withdrawn her support of the controversial sport. The channel 9 weather presenter (who has also been the face of a host of programs such as Getaway and Temptation) relinquished her share in a jumps horse after I wrote a letter to her alerting her that the horse fell during a trial. Her withdrawal of support for this so-called 'sport' is yet more proof that jumps racing has no future and will send a strong message to those responsible. Good onya Liv!

So my message to you: Speak up! You just never know how much weight one letter can carry. Hell, you might even get a celebrity to withdraw their support from jumps racing ;)

And if you live in Vic and want to see jumps racing 'put down' as much as I do, then you will want to keep yourself free this Sunday (August 30th) for the biggest day in jumps racing for the whole year. It's the Grand National (ie. The 'Melbourne Cup' of jumps racing) and you can be sure we won't let this one go by quietly. A huge crowd of demonstrators will be outside the event to send a strong message that jumps racing must be banned - it's gonna be mammoth. If there is one rally you go to this year, this is it this will be a day you will look back to and tell your grandchildren about it! :P

Click here to get the full low down on the demo. And if you're not in Vic then please write to Minister Hulls to call on him to ban jumps racing.

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Mechanic Can't Fix Broken Down Horse

Mechanic Can't Fix Broken Down Horse

Posted 16 July 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: jumps racing, horse racing, euthanasia, horses, sport, entertainment, language, advocacy

Another horse died yesterday in jumps racing in Victoria. You've got to wonder how much longer the Vic Minister for Racing, Rob Hulls, will let this go on. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out that no amount of 'safety measures' is going to make this 'sport' safe.

What really gets me (aside from the racing industry not seeming to care much about horses) is the language used by the industry and the media to talk about these tragedies. The most recent victim of jumps racing was All Square, who collapsed on the track mid-race and was killed - or as it was reported in the media:

"All Square faltered in the straight after the jumps, broke down and was destroyed after a vet examined it."

They may as well be talking about a car breaking down during the Grand Prix with that language! Sadly, we have a long way to go when animals are referred to as objects that 'break down' and are 'destroyed'.

I think that as animal advocates we each need to take every opportunity to do our little bit to transform our langauge to reflect the fact that animals are living, feeling creatures. Simply referring to animals as 'he' or 'she', instead of 'it' goes a long way to defining them as a someone, not a something.

But that's enough of my thoughts...

If you're outraged that the carnage of jumps racing has not been 'destroyed' for good, please write to Minister Rob Hulls and let him know how you feel: [email protected]

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49 Die at Running of the Bulls

49 Die at Running of the Bulls

Posted 14 July 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 10 Comments

Tags: Running of the Bulls, sport, tourism, cows, bullfighting, entertainment, Pamplona, Spain

Last Friday a man was killed during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. The 27 year old man, Daniel Jimeno Romero, died after being gored in the stomach by a disoriented bull during the run.

As the annual festival wraps up today, the total death toll will near 49 at this year's brutal event. But unlike Mr Romero, the 48 bulls who are tormented and killed during the festival did not volunteer to take part.

While the people in this race may be running for their lives the bulls are litertally racing towards their deaths. After being poked with electric prods and sharp instruments and a terrifying and hazardous run through the slippery cobblestone streets, the bulls' run ends in a bullfighting arena.

Once the bulls are in the ring, the odds are heavily stacked against them. In bullfights, the bull may be drugged or even have the muscles on the back of his neck cut to prevent him lifting his head during the 'fight'. Men on horse back thrust barbed sticks into the bulls back until he is weak and drained of blood. Then the matador enters the ring to taunt the injured animal until he collapses. Finally the matador sticks a blade into the bulls heart to kill him.

Sometimes the matador misses the bulls heart and the animal doesn't die. When this happens, another person comes in to finish off the animal, usually with a knife. It can sometimes take as many as another 30 stabbings to finally kill the bull.

This is not my idea of a festive occasion, or a must see tourist event. I can understand the thrill of cheating death, but not at the expense of someone else's life! If people really want to face their fears and take on a challenge, perhaps they should take a few pointers from Steph Davis. Steph is a vegan free-solo climber (ie. she climbs cliffs without any safety gear and then base jumps off the top). Now that's a thrill without the carnage!

If you're disgusted by the running of the bulls, you might like to write to the Spanish Ministry of Tourism ([email protected]) to let them know you wouldn't consider visiting Spain whilst they continue to abuse and kill bulls.

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Ipswich Bans Cruel Animal Circuses

Ipswich Bans Cruel Animal Circuses

Posted 2 July 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 9 Comments

Tags: exotic animals, animal circuses, bull hooks, posters, entertainment, victory

Some great news came out of Ipswich this week. Ipswich City Council voted to ban exotic animals from being used in circuses on council land. That makes Ipswich the first council in Queensland to take a stand against cruel animal circuses. Woot!

And it's about time! The lives of wild animals in circuses is the pits. They are tormented and abused to instill fear, so they will perform tricks for the audience. (Have you notice that it's a whip not a reward that they use?) Elephant 'trainers' often use a bullhook (a stick with a sharp metal hook on one end) to control or punish elephants. This hook is dug into senstitive parts of their body such as behind their ears, in their mouth or the bottoms of their feet.

When not performing, these animals, who might wander tens, if not hundreds of kilometers in a day in the wild, are confined in tiny barren cages. They spend months on the road carted from town to town, to be brought out on stage to perform in bright, loud tents for onlookers.

So a big hoorah to Ispwich Council for taking a stand against animal cruelty. Here's hoping a few more councils follow suit. If you have a moment, please write to Ipswich to congratulate them on the ban ([email protected]). And you might even like to write to your own local council and encourage them to ban exotic animal circuses too!

While I'm at it, I thought I'd also share these brilliant campaign posters from a collaboration between two portuguese animal advocacy groups, Aco Animal and Liga Portuguesa dos Direitos do Animal. They really sum it up well:

"Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls for the crack of the whip against the animal's stinging wounds. A big round of applause for the flaming hoops, the injuries and the electric shocks. Come and see the famed number of cages and tightly binding chains allowing no escape from endless training sessions. Laugh, applaud and join in with the repetitive choreographed routines typical of depressed animals under great stress. All the fun of the circus travelling from city to city exhibiting animals as human caricatures. Clowning around that's no fun at all. Animal circuses, don't be part of the show."






(If you're keen to check out some other clever NGO campaigns, I found these at: osocio.org)

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Mayor Bucks Rodeo and Wins Award

Mayor Bucks Rodeo and Wins Award

Posted 23 June 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: rodeo, Mayor Ron Clarke, Gold Coast, entertainment, Compassionate Citizen Award, sport, video

Kudos to Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clarke, for speaking out against the cruelty of rodoes. In an interview last week, Mayor Clarke, expressed his disgust at the 'sport': "They (rodeos) are definitely human entertainment at the animals' expense." For his outspoken act of compassion Animals Australia has awarded Ron Clarke the inaugural Compassionate Citizen Award.

As an Aussie sports legend, Ron Clarke knows what being a true sportsman is all about. Ron can boast a running career including an Olympic medal and the breaking of 17 world records. So after seeing a rodeo first hand, it's no wonder he's appalled by the brutality of the 'sport'.

To make horses and bulls buck, a tight strap (called a 'bucking strap' or 'flank strap') is used to squish their senesitive hind area, causing pain and discomfort. To make things worse the animals are physically taunted, and may even be zapped by electric prods (despite this being illegal in most Aussie states). Check out this footage, taken at the 2003 National Rodeo Finals at Tamworth, to see for yourself:

While the riders may volunteer to participate (beats me why!), the animals are helpless victims. Earlier this year at an SA rodeo, Animals Australia's investigator, Wendy Parsons, witnessed first hand as a bull broke his leg and was shot, and a steer limped off on 3 legs. And at another rodeo this year, on the Gold Coast, a horse died after crashing into a fence.

It's great to see Mayor Clarke speaking out for these animals. If you have a moment, you may even like to write to congratulate him.

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Lame Gymnast Euthanised

Lame Gymnast Euthanised

Posted 20 June 2009   by Karen         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: jumps racing, horse racing, euthanasia, horses, sport, entertainment, video, funny, The Onion

Today the Onion brings us the touching story of Shawn, a champion gymnast who tragically fell while practicing on the uneven bars and had to be euthanised after breaking her knee.

Fortunately, in reality we don't actually shoot gymnasts in the back of the head if they happen to take a wrong step (you can imagine how many budding athletes would volunteer for the sport if we did..?). But not all professional athletes are so lucky.

Today at Moonee Valley, Whatsourgo became the sixth horse to be killed in jumps racing in Victoria this year after he fell and broke his leg on the last hurdle. Now, the jumps racing industry would like us to believe that 'owners love their horses' *cough* *bull$#!t* *cough*. Whether or not you believe them I think we need to hold them to their word and demand that they to do the only humane thing possible: put an end to jumps racing. Stat.

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