Exhibited Animals

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Exhibited Animals have been endorsed (April 2019) by the Agriculture Ministers (AGMIN) and are regulated into law by State and Territory governments. These outline strict requirements that ensure the animals’ welfare requirements are met by licensed exhibitors.

Animal Care Australia recognises the need for separation of exhibited animals and animals used for entertainment purposes.

Examples of exhibited animals include:

  • Zoos and wildlife parks
  • Marine parks
  • Mobile education displays
  • Circus

Animal Care Australia will strive to ensure we are included in all consultation processes during reviews.

Zoos and Wildlife Parks

Australian zoos and wildlife parks have evolved quite rapidly from the days of small concrete and steel cages to enclosures that replicate natural environments. Husbandry and enrichment have kept pace and been the driving force behind this evolution.

Today zoos and wildlife parks predominantly include:

  • education
  • breeding of threatened species,
  • rescue and rehabilitation programs and
  • serve as a permanent home for animals where release has been deemed impossible.

They are vital for education, research for conservation purposes, and accordingly must adhere to strict guidelines and legislation regarding all animal behaviours, enclosures and most importantly the welfare of the animals.

Animal Care Australia supports zoos and wildlife parks

Marine Parks & Aquariums

Australian marine parks & aquariums have a multitude of different animals including penguins, seal/sea-lion, aquatic animals and in certain cases polar bear and cetaceans (dolphin). A number of these animals are rescued species and the remaining are considered ‘domesticated’ and are no longer taken from the wild (apart from those rescued) and all are deemed unsuitable to be released into the wild.

Marine parks & aquariums are vital for education, research for conservational purposes and act as homes for animals who would otherwise be euthanised.  So-called ‘Shows’ are a vital and necessary aspect of the animal’s daily routines, they provide enrichment and are designed to replicate natural behaviours. They are designed to ensure complete muscle exercise and hence maintain body strength and physical well-being.

Animal Care Australia supports marine parks and aquariums


Australian circus have a multitude of different animals including dogs, ponies, horses, goats, pigs, water buffalo and camels.

Animal Care Australia takes particular note that:

  • all of these animals are multi-generational born within the circus
  • by definition within animal welfare Acts, these animals are all ‘domesticated’ animals
  • none of the so-called ‘wild or exotic’ have been taken from the wild, and
  • on welfare grounds should never be released back into the wild as suggested by Animal Rights Extremists
  • circus animals should remain with their carers where welfare conditions are being maintained.

Animal Care Australia notes the recent removal of rhesus monkeys and lions from the Australian circus (Stardust) due to the inability to obtain/renew public liability insurance while the circus maintained keeping those animals. The monkeys and lions have now been retired to a privately owned zoo.

This is a direct influence of the animal rights movement who were unsuccessful in Parliamentary Inquiries to have these animals removed from the circus – despite their claims of success – but lobbying secured a change of insurance companies willing to renew policies.

Animal Care Australia supports animals in circus

Mobile Educators and Petting Zoos

Mobile educators and petting zoos are required to meet strict guidelines, within each State and Territory especially designed to protect the welfare of animals, particularly during transport. These services are vital to our community for education and to promote conservation.

Bringing the ‘farm’ or the ‘bush’ to children, and isolated communities, as well as those who otherwise would never see or understand the nature of how animals exist is important to the very future of animals continuing to exist.  To see, touch, and experience an animal in real life far out rates a picture on a computer or television screen.

Animal Care Australia will continue to monitor and consult in ongoing reviews of the ‘animal welfare laws’ which govern these services to ensure welfare needs and standards for the animals are maintained and in doing so, support the continuance of these services.

Animal Care Australia supports mobile educators and petting zoos