MEDIA RELEASE: Animal Circus Protest Continues After Unlawful Arrest Case Settles

Getting arrested isn’t enough to stop this determined animal activist from continuing the campaign against performing animals in circuses. Animal Liberation’s Humane Education Officer and circus campaign co-ordinator Phillip Hall settled a claim last month against the State of NSW arising out of the conduct of a Miranda Police Officer whose attempt to move along a peaceful protest in September 2012 resulted in the unlawful arrest of Mr. Hall and a colleague.

"We each have a common law right to peaceful assembly and protest on public land at any time" Mr Hall stated, who took a tort action against the officer after his infringement notice was overturned. "The aggressive and heavy-handed actions of this officer were an affront to our democratic rights to give a voice to issues we feel are important, such as the ongoing captivity of animals in the circus".

The matter was settled out of court with the help of civil rights solicitor Joe Fahey of Foott Law & Co, in an outcome both Mr. Hall and Mr. Fahey – who specialises in wrongful arrest and false imprisonment – found very favourable.

The incident has not deterred Mr. Hall who continued Animal Liberation's campaign against animal circuses immediately following his arrest. "My brief imprisonment does not compare to the other animals who live out their whole lives wrongfully imprisoned"

Animal circuses are banned in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Cyprus and Mexico. They have also been banned in the ACT for over 21 years, and several councils across Australia have banned them locally. Animal Liberation is calling for a state-wide ban on animal circuses in NSW, and for local councils to review their circus policy.

Circuses deny animals their natural behaviours such as freedom to roam, form complex social groups, and manage their surroundings. Animals are transported constantly in the circus, and housed in unsuitable enclosures. The lack of stimulation leads the animals to exhibit repetitive behaviours such as pacing and swaying, which indicates stress, anxiousness and lethargy. Circus performance for an animal is unnatural, degrading and has no educational merit.

Animal Liberation’s circus campaign continues in Miranda on the 20th September, almost two years since the incident.


Lion enclosure at Stardust Circus. Photo credit: Phillip Hall, 2013