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Visit to notorious Stardust Circus ('Australia's largest & best animal circus')

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Rana Rana VIC Posts: 9
1 16 Nov 2009
Hi Everyone,

I visited Mrs Lennon, owner of Stardust Circus today with a fellow activist. She was happy to show us around and to chat about her animals. She also extends the invitation to other activists who would like to see the animals for themselves.

Mrs Lennon told me that they currently have 5 lions, 7 macaque monkeys, some ponies and horses, including a 5 week old foal (who is part of the show with her mother- her mother sits in a chair and nods 'yes' and shakes 'no' when asked questions). I estimate there were about 20 horses all up. Mrs Lennon said that the circus retired their 2 elephants only two years earlier (after one of the elephants killed a handler-  http://www.elephant-news.com/index.php?id=3106 ) and that Stardust was probably the last Aussie Circus to house a performing tiger. As for the animal acts, the lions jump through hoops and 'hug' the ringmaster. One of the monkeys drives a little car and the others ride ponies. Mrs Lennon estimated that animal acts make up about one third of the show. It's a shame that with so many other exciting non-animal parts of the show, Stardust continue to use exotic animals to lure people to their shows.

On seeing the animals, they all appeared to be well fed and watered. The lions had a fairly small enclosure (with no shade) but were able to retreat back into the truck where  we were told there was water and shade. At the time of our visit only one lion, Caesar, was out in the pen. The monkeys were in pairs except for one male who had to have his 'fangs' cut because he was 'doing to much damage to the other monkeys'. I am no expert in lion and monkey psychology and health, so it was difficult to tell how healthy the animals actually were.

The horses and ponies were all well fed and had a large pen with a tent for shade. No water was visible but we were advised that they did have access to water. The ponies were quite friendly and walked straight up to me, including the foal.

I must say that Mrs Lennon was very open in her discussion with me. It was obvious that she felt she had nothing to hide because she sees no wrong in what Stardust Circus do. She says that the animals are well cared for so she doesn't understand why the 'do-gooders' get angry. I tried to explain to her that I was no accusing her directly of abusing her animals but that the cruelty lied in the very fact that the king of the jungle, a huge, majestic animal was lying down in a littered paddock next to a shopping centre carpark. This was a difficult sight to see. Same deal with the monkeys. These monkeys are from the tropical/ humid forests in asia and we witnessed them preening each other in a small pen by the side of a busy road in suburbia. Mrs Lennon defended the use of these animals saying that they are from breeders and that they have never known their natural habitat so they don't miss it. Isn't that depressing enough in itself? Does that not ring alarm bells that this is not right? When asked if Mrs Lennon would replace the lions and monkeys when they die, she said it would depend on what her children want to do. She said that 'these lions probably have at least another ten years in them'.

Mrs Lennon said they are on the road for 11 months of the year.

It is sad that Mrs Lennon totally misses the point. However, considering the Lennon family have been involved in circuses since the 1800s, it's no surprise. Mrs Lennon's family also owns Lennon Bros Circus (another notorious animal circus), running since about 1863. Stardust is a relatively new offshoot, being in operation for about 16 years.


--
Rana Hales

President/ Coordinator
Caroline Springs Animal Welfare Network

P: 0410 315 808
E:
PO Box 3682 Caroline Springs 3023

Check out 'meatless monday':
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpnKeYmR1NM
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Cait Cait NSW Posts: 38
2 16 Nov 2009
it is sad to think of the poor animals stuck in this situation. It has to be a very stressful life for them, it would be bad enough for them not to be able to live life in a natural undisturbed way in one location but to be moved around for 11 months of the year would have to be horrible for them. I pity these animals and believe that the very act of keeping them in cages is wrong so i myself do not go to circuses, i hope there are many other people that share a similar point of view and that hopefully one day soon such things as this will no longer occur so that animals can live natural lives untainted by human existence.
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tofupower tofupower NSW Posts: 54
3 17 Nov 2009
animals should never be forced to perform for our "enjoyment"
its unnatural and definately not in the animals' best interests

but this brings up the argument of when is it ok for animals to perform?
are dog shows ethical? is equestrian ethical?

animal circuses i believe are certainly the worst and i will forever boycott them!
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Showpeaa Showpeaa VIC Posts: 25
4 17 Nov 2009
Its desgraceful how they treat the animals and i can honestly say that I have and dont plan to ever go to a Circus that contains animals.
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Karen Karen Australia Posts: 993
5 17 Nov 2009
Unleashed Admin
Before I started working for animals full time I used to be a circus performer of sorts and, really, seeing circuses these days still forcing animals to live a life like this just breaks my heart... sad

The irony that a circus can pass off animal misery as joy-giving-entertainment is so absurd I'm lost for words...!

Unfortunately I think most patrons just don't think beyond the bright lights and colourful costumes. A little information can go a long way, however, which is why I've attended a number of these circuses to distribute stickers and leaflets to circus-goers to help them to think twice next time they consider visiting an animal circus.

sad
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Jesse Jesse VIC Posts: 1117
6 18 Nov 2009
Unleashed Admin
thanks for sharing Rana
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Joannaoj Joannaoj United Kingdom Posts: 33
7 18 Nov 2009
Thanks for being brave enough to do that Rana. I hear you are doing some great activism out there getting people to boycott the circus. Keep up the good work happy
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MerlinLemon MerlinLemon VIC Posts: 291
8 18 Nov 2009
SimPly_SpleNdId! said:
Its desgraceful how they treat the animals and i can honestly say that I have and dont plan to ever go to a Circus that contains animals.
im wid you one dat. im not gonna go to a circus with animals. i mean, i think its sorta okay if they have dogs (coz they're already domesticated) but having elephants and lions and etc. is just cruel.
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jack jack VIC Posts: 1463
9 18 Nov 2009
Lemon said:
SimPly_SpleNdId! said:
Its desgraceful how they treat the animals and i can honestly say that I have and dont plan to ever go to a Circus that contains animals.
im wid you one dat. im not gonna go to a circus with animals. i mean, i think its sorta okay if they have dogs (coz they're already domesticated) but having elephants and lions and etc. is just cruel.
keeping ANY animals in a circus 2 me is wrong
i think that a home with a dog is alot differnt to amassive circus with doghs.
They would still be abused i would say
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MerlinLemon MerlinLemon VIC Posts: 291
10 18 Nov 2009
okay, then
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