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Activist groups leave an Australian circus fighting for its future

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Stardust and Lennon Brothers are the oldest traditional animal circuses still touring Australia.

They’re also the only circuses in the country to have exotic animals.

As a result, they’re often the target of animal rights groups petitioning to have the operation shut down for animal cruelty reasons.

The family-run business not only provides entertainment to every town they set up camp in, they also raise money for local charities. Most recently they raised $6000 for battling Aussie farmers.

Stardust Ringmaster Adam St.James, who has been in the job for 21 years, tells Ray Hadley they are now facing fresh discrimination.

Mr St.James has been informed Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour doesn’t want circuses with exotic animals to perform on council-controlled land anymore after being beseeched by various activist groups.

“I’ve had my own battle with them (animal rights groups) over the greyhound ban. They attack you personally and attack you in such a manner that would portray you in the worst possible light,” says Ray.

If such a motion gets through the council it will likely mean the end for these iconic circuses.

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Mr St.James is understandably upset as the business is an A-rated Animal Industry which abides by the Australian Code of practice For Circus Animals.

“It really is quite heart-breaking.

“You’re being treated as if you’ve done something wrong when in fact you’ve done nothing wrong,” says Mr St.James.

In a statement, Mr Asfour admits “Council has made no decision at this time”.

But confesses if the policy is approved it “would align with similar policies which have been operating in other Council areas throughout Australia”.

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