Meet the granny fighting for the rights of animals

3rd February 2018 12:00 PM
PASSING IT ON: Longtime animal rights activist June Killington with her daughter Hazel's rescue cat Toby. She's delighted to have passed on her love of animals and their need to be protected. PASSING IT ON: Longtime animal rights activist June Killington with her daughter Hazel's rescue cat Toby. She's delighted to have passed on her love of animals and their need to be protected.

SIXTY-year-old grandmother-of-three June Killington faces her own battle with the debilitating Lyme Disease, but that hasn't stopped her fighting for animal rights.

Her only concession is that these days she takes a folding chair to protests!

June, now living in Woy Woy and a newcomer to the Central Coast, has been an animal activist for over 30 years, protesting puppy farms, rodeos, circuses with animals and, for the past five years, the use of performing dolphins at Sea World on the Gold Coast.

"I have always had a real love and respect for animals since I was little," June said.

"I see them as voiceless, and I speak up for them."

 

The logo which June uses to protest dolphins being made to perform at the Gold Coast's Sea World.
The logo which June uses to protest dolphins being made to perform at the Gold Coast's Sea World.

Over the years, June said, she had involved a large number of national and international celebrities in her campaigns through donations of goods to raise tens of thousands of dollars to protect animals, such as Arna, a lone circus elephant, which was able to see out her final days in the relative freedom of Western Plains Zoo.

She said it was as a result of her appearance on the then Bert Newton Show, that the Mayor of Ballarat, in Victoria, closed down one of the largest puppy farms in Australia.

"That was very exciting," she said. "I had the backing of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore, and it was a massive campaign."

She's also against greyhound and horse racing, including the Melbourne Cup.

"We need to think about what we're doing," she said.

"Just because 'my father did it' or we've done something in the past doesn't mean we should still be doing it now ... we were wrong then too."

But these days, while still protesting animals forced to perform in circuses and rodeos, it is Sea World which is her focus, through her Facebook page Sea World Shut Down and Twitter @seaworldisevil.

Her emotive tag is "Sea World Australia - Keeping dolphins as prisoners since the 70s", while the logo depicts a crying dolphin with a ball and chain on its tail and the heading "Set them free".

"It's about educating the public that dolphins don't belong in swimming pools doing tricks for dead fish," June said.

She argues that dolphins which are saved by Sea World should be rehabilitated and freed or taken to a sanctuary rather than forced to perform, something which has already been banned in a number of other countries.

She dismissed the argument that the facility's keeping of animals was in part educational.

"What we need is to educate our children that animals have rights, have feelings and deserve respect," she said.

"Animals are not there for our entertainment."

While she may have been slowed by her condition, June said she was delighted that her daughter and grandchildren have taken up the animal rights cause and, as she says, "this old granny is non-stop ... I'll never stop".