Vegan Warriors have church Christmas petting zoo in sights
AN ANIMAL rights group is vowing to protest outside the Sunshine Coast's biggest Christmas show if it doesn't dump its popular animal farm.
Vegan Warriors' Jaylene Musgrave has written to Maroochydore's Lifepointe Baptist Church, asking for the live animal exhibits to be removed from Christmas Lights Spectacular which attracts thousands each year.
Ms Musgrave says the Vegan Warriors will protest even if the animal farm is operating within all legal guidelines and has the sanction of the RSPCA.
Church senior pastor Phil Greenbury has received Vegan Warriors' email and investigated the first complaint against the animal farm in the nine years it has been operating as part of the Lights Spectacular.
"All care, consideration and concern is always taken for all our animals, and because of this, we outsource our farm to a company who specialise in small animal farms," Pastor Greenbury said.
"Vivienne White, from Viv's Farm Animals, is our animal handler with over 20 years of experience in children's farm displays.
Should Lifepointe get rid of the petting zoo?
This poll ended on 11 December 2013.
Yes! It doesn't really fit in with Christmas anyways
Yes! Because it's not fair to the animals.
No, it's a part of their Christmas display.
No, there's nothing wrong with a petting zoo.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"She stays on site for the duration of the event to oversee the care of all animals.
"During the last Christmas show at Lifepointe, there were no injuries, no deaths, no vets needed and no medication for any of the animals. They were all very healthy.
"There is also a designated area so the animals can be rotated and rested from the general public."
RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beattie said petting zoos and animal farms were fine if they were run according to the guidelines.
"If run properly, they can be an important part of a child's introduction to animals," he said.
Ms Musgrave said the RSPCA was only interested in "animal welfare and not animal rights".
She said she hoped to "liaise with the church first, hoping they may acknowledge this cruelty inflicted on animals".
Ms Musgrave admits she has never attended one of the Christmas shows as "I never go to church".
However, Vegan Warriors members had been emailing concerns.
"It was deafeningly loud and stinking hot inside the petting zoo area and you could not move without tripping over someone or something," one wrote.
Ms Musgrave said members were "calling for the church to stop it".
"If they don't do it, we will move on to campaigning with protests," she said.