The use of animals for public displays has become increasingly controversial, and concerns have been raised by welfare organizations and the general public as to the ethics of these shows.
The most recent development in this arena comes from the department store David Jones. The company has announced that they will not be including any animals in their annual Christmas parade through Brisbane Central. The parade is a highly anticipated event for the whole community and features live music and performances for the whole family to enjoy. The parade will weave through the popular city, finally culminating at King George Square for a night of festivities.
Previously the show employed a variety of live animals in their performances including deer’s, donkeys and camels. While the animals were a hit among the young children, activists have criticised the store, calling their use of animals cruel and a potential danger for both them and the public. Among the most vocal groups is PETA and Animal Liberation Queensland who have staged numerous public protests.
Following the controversy, the department store has announced that it will no longer be using live animals as a part of their demonstrations in order to sponsor a more ethical presentation. The announcement has been well received, with PETA publicly acknowledging the businesses step towards animal welfare. “PETA applauds Davis Jones’ decision, as there is nothing merry about using animals as holiday ornaments,” said PETA liaison Emily Rice. “Any other stores or venues tempted to exhibit deer or other animals in their parades should follow David Jones’ compassionate lead.”