Becoming a Queensland based circus

Circuses that have an exhibition licence issued to a premise in Queensland will be able to operate as a circus. Applicants must meet the relevant legislative requirements for each category of species they propose to exhibit.

You must complete and submit 1 of the following:

along with completed management plans for each species proposed.

The management plan requests information about how you propose to exhibit and deal with an animal of a particular species. Identifying the animal management issues relevant to animal welfare, human health, safety and wellbeing, social amenity, the economy and the environment are all key concepts that will need to be covered in a management plan. Under the Exhibited Animals Act 2015 (EAA) these key concepts refer to the relevant risk and relevant adverse effect of exhibiting an animal and the 'general exhibition and dealing obligation' of the responsible person.

Animal categories

All animals obtained under an exhibition licence fall into 3 main categories: category A, B or C, with category C being divided into 2 sub-categories, C1 and C2. Under the EAA, the majority of animals which traditional circuses historically apply for would fall into category C2.

Category C animal requirements

As a minimum requirement, all category C species must be exhibited for a minimum of 50 hours in each calendar month.

Category C1 animal requirements

Due to the nature of these species, and their approval being issued for a broader range of exhibit purposes, they must be exhibited in secure regular enclosures at all times and are generally not suitable for entertainment exhibits such as those seen in traditional circus acts.

Category C2 animal requirements

Unless listed in another category, all non-indigenous species are categorised as category C2 species. Animal species such as macaques, lions and elephants are species which have traditionally been used in circus performances and are categorised as category C2 species.

An applicant applying for category C2 species for circus performances must be able to meet all the relevant exhibition and dealing obligations under the EAA. The applicant must have approved exhibits at the regular enclosure site which are open to viewing by the public whilst not on tour.

How do I obtain permission to take my animals off the regular enclosure site for touring?

Special exhibition approval

All exhibition licence holders proposing to take category C2 animals off the regular enclosure site for touring in circus performances, must submit the following:

Unlike the exhibition licence application, which is the assessment process for animals to be held at a regular enclosure site, the SEA application is the application process which permits the exhibition of category C2 animals off the regular enclosure site.

Management plans

Management plans addressing how you propose to exhibit and deal with each Category C2 animal species whilst out of the regular enclosure must also be submitted as part of the application process. Management plans submitted should detail information such as the following:

  • how a responsible person will deal with each animal on a daily basis to meet animal welfare requirements
  • details of each enclosure and controlled area
    • at the regular enclosure site
    • off the regular enclosure site
    • and
    • transport enclosures.
  • all other details relevant to exhibiting and dealing with an exhibited animal.

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