Zoos condemned for cruel practices
Dolphins being used as surfboards, chimps being clothed in nappies and elephants forced to play basketball – these are some of the humiliating and abusive practices that World Animal Protection’s ‘The Show Can’t Go On’ report finds at zoos and aquariums around the world.
In the name of entertainment, wild animals are being made to endure appalling suffering by the most ‘popular’ zoos in the world. This news follows a first-of-its-kind study The Show Can’t Go On, conducted by World Animal Protection and Change for Animals Foundation.
The global survey investigated zoos and aquariums that are members of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) – the organisation for zoos and similar institutions, set up to guide, encourage and support venues in wild animal care and welfare.
Big cats in demeaning experiences
The Show Can’t Go On revealed that 75 per cent of WAZA’s 1,200 linked venues offer at least one animal visitor interaction. During undertaking of research, field visits to a dozen zoos found animals being cruelly used in demeaning experiences – with big cats, dolphins, elephants and primates being used in the most.
Appallingly, the study found that big cats were being paraded in gladiator-style shows in large amphitheaters, elephants playing basketball, dolphins being used like surf boards and clothed chimps driving around in scooters. All of these activities would require abusive training techniques.
‘A lifetime of suffering’
Dr Neil D’Cruze, global wildlife adviser at World Animal Protection said: “Seeing wild animals perform in circus-like shows is not just a bit of fun. For the animals in these 12 irresponsible zoos, and potentially many others globally, what might be seen as an enjoyable activity on a day out for the family, means a lifetime of suffering for these animals.”
Harry Eckman, director for Change for Animals Foundation, commented: “All of these ridiculous activities represent a clear and present danger to the wild animals involved. Circus-like shows and elephant rides typically involve harsh training methods to establish dominance and the use of wild animals as photo props can inflict stress and injuries.”
WAZA linked venues are posing as institutions that help animals and with the lack of a single global regulatory body for wildlife tourism, visitors are unknowingly putting their faith in them safeguarding animals.
People need to take a stand and boycott venues like zoos. This will send out a clear message – that treating animals this way is not acceptable, and will in turn close such cruel establishments.