HUMAN beings are basically a selfish species.
We consume far more of the earth's resources than we need - to the detriment of other species.
We plunder the resources of other nations to satisfy our desires for whatever takes our fancy.
I long for the day when our oft-touted intelligence brings us to a more considerate and caring state of affairs.
Consideration for other species takes us to the question of animal rights and the long-running argument about using exotic creatures for our amusement in circuses.
Lennon Bros Circus was the target of protests on the Sunshine Coast at the weekend.
This circus is one of a few in Australia which still uses animal performers such as lions, monkeys, camels and llamas.
Coast to Coast Animal Friends protester Marie Marton is of the view that circus animals weren't meant to be in little metal boxes trucked around the country.
"There's no value to the animals' lives here, no value to taking your children," she argued.
Lennon Bros manager Cheryl Lennon was upset that her patrons were being "intimidated" by the pesky protest group.
"Our animals are well cared for. They are inspected on a regular basis and, above and beyond anything, we love them; they are family," Ms Lennon said in her defence of the practice of unnaturally caging wild animals in tiny enclosures.
"Our beautiful lions were born in the circus in Australia."
Well it stands to reason then, according to Ms Lennon, that a living creature born into captivity would naturally find prison life hunky-dory. And that the premise that this sad beast was being "loved" would make life perfectly rosy.
The purpose behind this cruelty is plain - it's profit, purely and simply.
Seeing a proud animal performing silly tricks is also hardly a good lesson in humanity for children.
At least when whalers and sealers slaughtered marine animals - as horrific as it was - they didn't leave the prey to suffer for an entire lifetime.
Confining animals in small cages so that humans can get a bit of a thrill or eat cheaply is an abomination that should be outlawed.
It's not only circuses ill-treating exotic animals that should be condemned.
Battery hens and domestic birds kept in ridiculously small cages should be freed from their misery.
If you don't agree, go and live in your toilet cubicle for a week and find out how it feels.
In 2009, Ipswich City Council was the first council in Queensland to ban circuses with exotic animals operating on council land.
One councillor said then that there was hypocrisy in the ban, suggesting if council banned exotic animals in circuses they should also stop sponsoring horse racing, greyhound racing, rodeos and the Festival of Feathers.
He was right. We deal with these cruelty issues in piecemeal fashion when the overriding debate deserves better attention.
The RSPCA is opposed to the use of animals for any kind of entertainment, exhibition or performance where injury, pain or suffering is likely to be caused.
Is doing something about this issue on any government's radar?
As an incentive to act, we can use totally selfish motives - we'll all feel a whole lot better knowing that we've done the right thing.
People ruin all the good places to go and visit
I CAME across a list of "fun facts" about Australia some days ago.
The Outback Australia travel guide has been busy collecting this treasury of trivia.
One of the facts in particular caught my eye - that Australians have 380,000 square metres of land available per person, yet more than 90% of us are crammed into coastal cities.
And anyone driving to or from the coast last weekend would have experienced the result of that.
As my travelling companion remarked: "What made these seaside places so attractive years ago has been destroyed by the hordes of people".
We overrun the beaches like social lemmings during school holidays and I understand why - the water views are picture- perfect, the breezes are soothing, the food's amazing ...
Trouble is, the unrelenting traffic often spoils the experience.
Can we take a leaf out of Europe's book and plan more vehicle-free zones where we lemmings like to congregate; more delightful squares where we can dine in peace without exhaust fumes up our noses.
Another fun fact is that the Australian alps, or Snowy Mountains, receive more snow than Switzerland. I bet tourists can find a parking spot there.
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