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What is the RSPCA's view on novelty animal races for fundraising or entertainment?

Article ID: 657
Last updated: 06 May, 2016
Revision: 2
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Novelty animal races are occasionally used by sporting and other clubs as a way to provide entertainment and raise funds. Different types of animals have been used including mice, frogs, guinea pigs and even young crocodiles. RSPCA Australia opposes the use of animals in this way due to the inherent risks to animal welfare, which include:

  • placing animals in a highly unfamiliar and potentially distressing environment
  • exposure to loud noise, intense light, high vibration and excessive rapid movement of people in close proximity
  • poor handling by untrained people
  • transportation and confinement in inappropriate containers

These risks are particularly stressful to prey animals such as mice, frogs and guinea pigs who often rely upon camouflage or small, dark spaces to hide from predators. Exposing them in this way is likely to cause significant fear and anxiety.

An additional concern is the source and fate of animals used in novelty races. Some may be killed at the end of the entertainment or given away to people who may have no interest in caring for such animals.

Novelty animal racing is not specifically illegal, but causing unnecessary harm to animals is prohibited. These activities also reflect a lack of consideration for the needs of the animals involved. There are many other options to fundraise that do not involve animal use. 

How you can help

If you are aware of any club proposing to host a novelty animal racing event, you can express your concern and request that they consider an alternative fundraiser that does not involve the use of animals.

Also read: RSPCA Policy C4.6 Novelty events

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