Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

I'm interested to know what the opinion for zoos is here at Animal Rights Zone.

 

Do they have a role to play in conservation, education?

Or are they just another way to exploit animals for humans entertainment.

 

Personally, I don't like the masses that go to the zoo. Animals are things to look and point at. To laugh at the funny things they do, and feel sorry for the ones that look sad. Plus it's only the exciting animals people, especially children want to see, before they run along to look at the next thing.

There are many wild animals in captivity that could have had a better life not to be. But there isn't much that can be done to change their situation, they probably wouldn't cope well in the wild. I think it's wrong to catch animals for collections, and wrong to breed animals that have no place there. Whether captive breeding helps with the conservation of endangered species I do not know.

 

Let me know what you guys think?

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I was thinking of the actual "keepers", the frontline, the people who go in to that line of work, all though the system is unjust, may actually be people who put that animals care foremost.

Plus three are places like MonkeyWorld, local to me that I think are great as a home for primates that can not be rehabilitated to the wild, either from circuses, laboratories or the pet trade.

Sam, I can only tell you what I know about Brighton Sealife centre, as over the years I've done quite a lot of research on them.

The building housing the Sealife centre was built in the 1870's, as were the tanks. The tanks have a conservation order on them, so they cannot be altered or made bigger. There are no minimum requirements as to sizes of tanks. To operate, the SLC has to have a 'zoo' licence, which is renewed every 3 years. Prior to the FOI act there was a lot of detail written by the inspectors on the licence renewal form, which was very revealing. There is barely anything recorded on them now. To have a licence zoo's/underwater prisons must have a conservation program, which isn't worth the paper it is written on. The SLC is owned by Merlin entertainment, which in turn is owned by the Blackstone group. They bought seal sancturies at Gweek and in Scotland, so they can claim to put creatures back into the wild. Brighton SLC has some connection to Sussex University but there are no details of any research ever being conducted by them. As far as education goes, if a sign that says "fish' is placed on a tank that has fish in it, it is regarded as education. We know from inside sources that many, many fish die there and are replaced with wild caught fish. Poor Lulu, a green turtle was caught from the wild 67 years ago and languishes in a sun less underground prison where she could remain for another 50 years. The SLC is a s..t hole. FOI revealed loads of accidents have occurred there, mainly due to people slipping over on water that leaks continuously from the 140 year old tanks. Unfortunately it is in a prime location in Brighton, where families almost fall into it when they leave the pier. We have handed out thousands of leaflets outside the SLC and have found that often children were able to empathise with the animals, but it was the parents who were determined to go in. I think it is better animals die out, than live in un natural environments, just so we can gawp at them. Have a look at the CAPS website.

@Sam--yes, i see what you mean about the "front liners." i think that intentions are tricky. i have a co-worker who volunteers for a local zoo, and is very pleased with the work that she does. part of it involves preparing "enrichment" activities for the captives, and part of it seems to involve education and promotion of the zoo's "mission."  the "enrichment" could perhaps be justified as assisting animals already in captivity. it's interesting, because even though i've never said anything about zoos (honest! lol), very shortly after we started working together and she found out i was vegan, she sort of pre-emptively gave me a fairly belligerent spiel, that (to my ears) came across as quite defensive.  to me, this indicates that on some level she knows what's wrong with the whole scenario, but isn't willing to face up to it.  she obviously has some good intentions, but i think they're also tangled up with other factors, such as perhaps that she enjoys the social aspects of her work, and getting to be "behind the scenes," and that kind of thing.  in the work environment, i just don't feel that it's appropriate to pursue the issue, so honestly i've never betrayed my feelings about any of this to her--but, truthfully, even if i did, i don't believe that i would be telling her anything that she hasn't already heard and, on some level, that she doesn't already believe.

Denis, I understand about the SeaLife centre, I too think it is horrible, and unjust. I had no idea they had a green turtle imprisoned there. Do you think she could ever be released?

&it's really encouraging that the children respond. As a child everyone knew I loved animals, and the adults around me would try to give me animal activities and this sometimes meant the zoo. But more and more I got less enthusiastic, none of the animals I have ever seen look overly thrilled to be there.

I think maybe those rehabilitation centres for the animals who simply could not be returned to the wild because of the trauma are perhaps best classed separately from the traditional zoos here, as their concerns seem to be the individual, not money, the public or the for the claimed good of the species.

 

&Michelle it is interesting to hear what you had to say. I do an animal behaviour and welfare course, and we do a lot on enrichment. I find my self very conflicted in these lessons, because as a vegan I know I am against zoos, animal imprisonment and exploitation but I know refusing to partake does nothing for the animals already there. A lot of the larger animals are gonna live for more than 20 years and I think if they could have it explained to them, I mean I don't know, but I think they would appreciate your attempts at enrichment, to  remove some of the dullness from their days. But I know the counter argument to this is possibly the same as that of welfare reforms, in that it only encourages the captivity of animals and makes people feel uncomfortable about it.

 

I guess my question now is can I be vegan, be opposed to zoos yet view enrichment as a good thing?

 

You say she got defensive, and I think people do around vegans, they feel they are being judged, when it's not so much them but the accepted mindset of the moment. I think a lot of the general public accept zoos are wrong, but they don't think about it, and I think most people realise when they acually arrive at the zoo, and see the bored animals. You hear people pitying them a lot. but then they go home and don't think about it again, until they're back at another zoo.

Hi Sam, We have had this discussion many times as to whether 'one' can be a welfarist AND an Abolitionist Animal Rightist. I am both. No doubt someone will come on here and tell me I can't be, but I believe I can, I'll tell you why; In our lifetime most people are not going to give up eating meat, (how ever much we would like that) Nor will most people accept our non speciest stance and they will continue to use animals for pleasure. So, what do we do, allow animals to live in shitty farms and battery cages? Do we ignore the animals that are suffering in zoo's? If you have it within your capablity to make their lives more bearable then you must do it. I think you being there gives you an ideal opportunity to educate the people who work or visit there.

I am not saying that I personally campaign for bigger cages or cushions for lab animals, but I don't slag off the people who are. I rescue animals every week and I hand out anti meat leaflets every week too. I am also part of a national campaign, involving the RSPCA amongst others. We are calling for the introduction of dog licences and stricter breeding practises. That is 'welfare' but if we can stop dogs being bred in the first place we will prevent an awful lot of suffering. Take the path of least possible harm... Until all are free. Den

I like that you feel this way Den. Whenever it is explained to be that you can't be both, comparisons are drawn between other social justices such as womens rights or abolition of slavery, and that no welfare reforms would be accepted. And although I agree animal rights are just as serious, I think the way they are going to be perceived by the general public is different, and you are right in our lifetime maybe people wont give up animal exploitation. But there is a hell of a lot of pain and suffering that can be reduced and even removed quicker. It might make people more comfortable, but I think the education about the morality of animal use is growing which is great, so why can there not be many different approaches to the destination of a world which condemns speciesism. 

 

A jug is filled one drop at a time but that jug isn't picky about where the water is coming from.

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