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Cancel cruel petting zoo at Coogee Family Fun Day

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Coogee Chamber of Commerce have been shown footage of the petting zoo at last year's event ignoring the NSW Standards for Exhibiting Animals at Mobile Displays and still refuse to consider an alternative form of entertainment. We want Coogee Family Fun Day to be just that: fun, not cruel.

Children were seen picking chicks up and dropping them, pulling a piglet's tail and trying to ride animals. Staff didn't stop them.

Coogee Family Fun Day is always held in December. Being outside all day in an Australian summer causes heat stress and dehydration for animals. It is virtually impossible to shelter the animals as the angle of the sun alters throughout the day. Last year the animals did not have adequate water supplies.

Small animals such as chicks and baby rabbits are particularly susceptible to harm as children do not know how to pick them up safely and cannot tell when an animal is stressed or scared. Last year, footage was taken that clearly showed the chicks and rabbits in considerable distress, trying to hide behind each other and making noises that indicate that they were suffering.

Petting zoos only need small, cute animals. They hire them from farms and then, when the animals are a few weeks older, send them back to be slaughtered. This is standard practice. These babies have been taken from their mothers at a few days old and are terrified and desperate for their mum.

Petting zoos do not allow animals to express natural behaviours of socialise with their own species.

Petting zoo animals are fed two or three times a day. This is at odds with their natural feeding patterns. Many animals commonly seen in petting zoos, such as cows, have digestive tracts suited to grazing throughout the day. If they are not slaughtered a few weeks old, they can develop painful digestive problems as a result of this feeding pattern.

Travelling from one place to another, spending significant amounts of time in tiny cages in transit is a hideous experience for the animals. Most people do not condone travelling circuses that use animals - this is no different.

The enclosures used are rarely suitable. Last year at Coogee, a chicken tried to escape from underneath the fencing and got its head stuck. The fencing was a danger to the ruminant animals (cows, goats, sheep etc) as they, in the absence of a constant food supply, could chew it, which could lead to death.

Petting zoos do not educate children about caring for animals. Petting zoos give children the impression that animals exist for them to be treated without regard for their well-being. It normalises the idea of captivity. Children learn what a frightened, frustrated animal is like, away from its natural habitat.

There a numerous examples of outbreaks of zoonosis (disease passed from animals to humans) from petting zoos both in Australia and overseas. Often adequate hand washing facilities are not provided. Even when they are, children have been seen putting straw that animals have chewed in their mouths and ears.

Ever seen a piglet at a petting zoo? You shouldn't! The law states that, for reasons of disease management, pigs should be kept away from other animals. Virtually every petting zoo has one though.

Please let Coogee Chamber of Commerce know that you won't support this event until they agree not to have a petting zoo.



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