STARDUST Circus staff have accused Animal Liberation ACT of running a dirty tricks campaign in its ongoing protest against the circus.
Ringmaster Adam St James returned to the Queanbeyan showgrounds from Sydney last Tuesday to find signs outside the circus had been the target of graffiti, with ‘CANCELLED’ stencilled across the promotional signs in large, block letters.
‘‘I think it’s gone a little too far now. When you’re starting to destroy people’s property to get your point across, then I think that’s quite pathetic,’’ Mr St James said.
‘‘We’ve had them here again protesting the other day and harassing the neighbours across the road from the circus. We’ve had neighbours complain to us of them standing outside the gates with their megaphones. They’re just creating a bit of a menace for everybody,’’ he said.
However local animal liberation activist Jessica Ferry said the group had not been involved in any illegal activity, and was purely an awareness-raising group.
‘‘Absolutely not. We’ve organised protests, but we’ve definitely had nothing to do with any graffiti or anything like that,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re willing to talk to anybody who stops and wants to know why we’re there, and basically trying to deter people from going in and educating them as to why we don’t think animals in circuses is ethical.
‘‘We’d absolutely support Stardust if there were no animals. We think it’s a great form of entertainment seeing human beings doing circus tricks, but not animals ... Travelling circus life is not an ethical way of treating animals,’’ Ms Ferry said.
But Mr St James again defended Stardust’s animal welfare record, and invited Animal Liberation ACT to come in and view the conditions within the circus for themselves.
‘‘We’ve asked them, but they’re not interested,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re just against the whole thing in general, and don’t care what’s actually going on here.
‘‘We’re proud of how we take care of our animals and they’re cared for better here than they would be in most zoos. I think they’re confusing a whole range of animal abuse issues from other parts of the world and directing them at us.’’
Meanwhile, Ms Ferry said the group would continue their protests against the circus over the coming weekends, and was pursuing a discussion with council on whether it’s appropriate for Queanbeyan to host the circus each year.
‘‘We sent a letter to the Queanbeyan Council asking them why they’ve allowed a business that makes a profit out of the exploitation of animals. We’ve received a response from them, and we’ll be following that up. Basically they don’t think it’s under their jurisdiction, but we have other information to that, so we’ll be following all of that up,’’ Ms Ferry said.
The Stardust Circus will perform at the Queanbeyan Showground up until Sunday, May 6.