The End of an Era of Elephant Abuse: Saigon, Australia's Last Circus Elephant, Retired
For most of her fifty-five long years, Saigon had been deprived of the activities that are vital to the wellbeing of all elephants. Instead of spending her days roaming vast distances, playing, bathing, and foraging for food, her fate was to be trucked from town to town with the Perry Bros Circus, performing demeaning 'tricks' for the public — and when not on display — spending hours on end standing in a barren enclosure surrounded by an electric fence.
The life of deprivation that Saigon has been forced to lead for decades presents a graphic example of why Animals Australia opposes exotic animal circuses. Tragically, even after Saigon reached an age where she was too old to perform, she was still denied the retirement she deserved. Instead, she was again carted from town to town, left to stand as a giant billboard advertising the circus outside shopping centres and busy suburban roads throughout the suburbs of Melbourne ... until now.
Thanks to the public outcry following an exposé on A Current Affair, the campaign that inspired over 20,000 caring individuals to sign our 'Free Saigon' petition, and numerous behind-the-scenes negotiations, Perry Bros agreed to retire Saigon from circus life. In retirement, this intelligent animal will no longer face the stress of being routinely trucked to unfamiliar locations; no longer will she be locked onto a 5m chain night after night, or taunted by crowds of noisy onlookers on busy suburban streets.
Saigon has at last been given sanctuary from public life and is currently spending her days at an 80-hectare property owned by Perry Bros in Victoria's northeast.
Animals Australia would like to thank everybody who signed our petition and spoke out on Saigon's behalf. Thanks to you, never again will any elephant be held captive alongside an Australian circus. With your help we have successfully closed a long chapter of elephant abuse in Australia.
Sadly, while exotic animal circuses still exist in Australia, there are still many other captive wild animals who still need our help. Please be a voice for these animals by pledging never to support circuses that use exotic animals in their acts.