It's 20 years since exotic animals were banned from performing in circuses in the ACT and the former politician who introduced the law believes most people today support the action.
Then Labor MLA David Lamont introduced an ultimately successful amendment to the Animal Welfare Bill in 1992 allowing the controversial ban.
Two decades later, Mr Lamont, now a consultant, stands by the law which sees circuses with exotic animals banned from the ACT but allowed to perform just over the border in Queanbeyan or other areas of NSW.
''Our original view, and it was a collective view, was that we shouldn't be prepared to see exotic animals suffer for the juvenile pleasure of some individual,'' he said.
The Animal Welfare Act 1992 expressly names bears, elephants, giraffes, primates and felines ''other than a domestic cat'' as prohibited animals.
A permit can be granted for circuses or travelling zoos with other performing, non-exotic animals.
Mr Lamont said something such as the performing horses of the El Caballo Blanco show were acceptable because they were domesticated animals which had been used for human endeavours for thousands of years.
The laws were specifically about exotic animals ''who have been taken from a wild environment and forced through either pain and/or suffering to conform to particular performance traits or habits''.
''There is certainly a difference to the way that domesticated animals are treated than what we found was the case in relation to the incarceration and ill-treatment, almost invariably, of these exotic animals,'' he said.
RSPCA ACT chief executive Michael Linke agreed.
''Horses have been domesticated for many, many thousands of years and there is a difference between exotic and domestic animals,'' he said.
Mr Lamont said he was not against circuses per se and was never a lone voice on the issue.
''I love the circus. I reckon they're great spectacles. They're not lessened by the absence of exotic animals,'' he said.
''This was something adopted by the legislature which at the time had overwhelming support in the territory and I believe to this day still has overwhelming support.
''There have been innumerable attempts in the intervening 20 years to rescind the legislation, none of which has been successful.
''I think as people have come to understand the world didn't end on the night the ban was introduced and circuses continued to exist.''
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