Close up of a circus Lion

PROGRESS: Australia’s last circus lions and monkeys are now ‘retired’.

Stardust Circus has been forced to stop displaying the last lions and monkeys they were still using for 'entertainment'!

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated May 7, 2021

Finally, in 2021, no circus in Australia will coerce these ‘exotic’ animals to perform in front of lights and crowds, and spend their lives travelling as part of a show.

Stardust Circus’s decision to stop using lions and monkeys was not voluntary, despite years of public opposition. The change was required because no insurance company contacted was willing to approve insuring the animals. Other animals including horses, dogs and goats will continue to be required to ‘perform’.

While the reason for the insurance companies’ decision hasn’t been made public, it comes after years of controversy for this ‘entertainment’ industry. Thousands of Australians have spoken out against keeping animals like lions and monkeys in circuses. The fact that Stardust was the last circus to display these ‘exotic’ animals in Australia indicates evolving societal expectations around the use of animals. These days, people are much more interested in watching amazing human performers — who choose to take centre stage — than they are in seeing animals forced to perform such unnatural tricks.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A circus lion sitting on a stool, forced to 'perform' for entertainment.
While 'exotic' animals like lions, elephants and monkeys are not currently used in Australian circuses, there is no nationwide ban in place – and around the world, these animals continue to suffer for the sake of circus 'entertainment'.

Circuses are never appropriate environments for animals

Animals in circuses around the world are routinely subjected to months on the road, confined in barren cages. These animals are forced to live most of their lives in enclosures, denying them every opportunity to express their natural behaviours. Undercover investigations overseas have also revealed cruel ‘training’ techniques based on fear and punishment.

In confinement, behind the scenes, they are unable to socialise and form bonds of their choosing as they naturally would, explore their environment, search for food, or seek privacy as they wish. And when they are in the ring, the loud crowds, bright lights, and ‘performance routines’ are far from anything they’d naturally experience.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A wild lion
All animals deserve a life worth living. They are not here 'for' us – they share this planet with us, and have their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes, fears and bonds.

Help protect animals from circus cruelty

Pledge not to attend any animal circuses – and instead, enjoy one of the many animal-free circuses that showcase incredible human talent!