THE inclusion of animals in a circus doesn't come without controversy, but Hudsons Circus, currently performing in Bathurst, said animal welfare is its highest priority.
"Our 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."Casey McCoy
Circus trainer Casey McCoy, who has trained animals on five continents said staff at the circus devote their lives to caring for the animals 24-hours a day.
"At each location we provide large outdoor yards and locations tailored to suit each animal species, these exceed government regulated standards for housing of circus animals and provide ample opportunity for grazing, socialisation and protection from adverse weather conditions."
He said the animals are transported between venues in a luxury purpose built semi-trailer.
Mr McCoy said the animals also have specifically tailored routines married with their natural abilities and individual preferences.
"Our 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," he said.
"The animals only perform a few minutes each show and the rest of the time they are resting and socialising with the other animals."
However, Queenie Green, convener of the Central West Animal Justice Party said the days of including animals in circus performances were gone.
"Across the world audiences are not supporting circus acts with animals, in fact many countries around the world are banning the performances.
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"The whole of the ACT has banned any circus featuring exotic animals (eg lions, tigers, monkeys) in their shows, thirty councils across NSW have also done the same."
She said the organisation recently petitioned Orange Council, but were unsuccessful, in stopping a circus performing in the city.
She said the group advocates for animal rights, and studies show there is no way the circus can reproduce their natural environment.
"The only future for a circus is using human performances, not carting animals around in the back of a truck," she said.