PRESS RELEASE: A Current Affair to air the story of Saigon, Australia's last circus elephant



A Current Affair on Channel 9 will tonight (16 Feb 2010) feature a segment on Saigon, the last circus elephant in Australia.

Animals Australia approached ACA after being greatly concerned about Saigon's welfare. Saigon, at 55 years of age, is too old to perform, yet she still endures the stress of being trucked from town to town with Perry Bros Circus. Her life for months on end is a small barren enclosure next to busy roadways and shopping centres. Saigon's miserable existence is compounded by loneliness as her last elephant companion died last year. In four states of Australia it is illegal to keep a single elephant in a circus; such is the recognition of the suffering that this causes. In Victoria, where Perry Bros performs, the guideline is not enforceable.

Perry Bros profess that they love Saigon, that she is part of their family, and that they provide for her every need. Unfortunately the facts present a different picture. Her enclosure is barren and she is overweight through lack of exercise. During summer months her only respite from the heat is her truck or a small area of shade cloth. Despite Perry Bros' assertions that they regularly give her attention, our investigations revealed that there are hours on end when no circus staff go near her. Crucially circus staff admitted to Animals Australia that they have had problems with drunken louts at night. There is nothing to stop bottles or other items being thrown at Saigon. Despite her welfare and security being severely compromised and elephant experts calling for her relocation, the circus continues to defend keeping Saigon with them.

Saigon was brought to Australia as a baby taken from her mother to become a circus elephant. For over 50 years she has been forced to perform tricks in a circus whilst being trucked around Australia, including through the Northern Territory. The wretched life Saigon has endured is a tragic example of the inappropriateness of exotic animals in circuses and why such circuses should be banned.

Animals Australia is calling upon Perry Bros Circus to immediately retire Saigon from circus life and to a facility where her behavioural needs can be met, and where she can enjoy quality of life for the first time in her life, for the rest of her life.

Please tune in tonight on Channel 9 at 6:30PM and help us to free Saigon. And after you've watched the show, please click here to send an important letter to Perry Bros Circus.


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