No Cage Big Enough: Why Zoos Can Never Be Humane - Animal Writes: PETA Foundation’s Blog Animal Writes: PETA Foundation’s Blog
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  • Jan

No Cage Big Enough: Why Zoos Can Never Be Humane

Zoos all over the UK have been counting their “stock” in recent weeks, but to unhappy animals forced to spend their lives in captivity, this audit is more like a prisoner roll call.

Animals in zoos are denied the opportunity to fulfil even their most basic instincts. Every single decision, including when to eat, what to eat, who to mate with, and when to sleep, is made for them. Some are forced to perform tricks day after day, while others are kept in enclosures far too small for them. Stories abound of animals’ fear and mistrust of zookeepers, such as the gorilla at Twycross Zoo who refuses to let humans near her newborn baby. “Surplus” animals are routinely killed. And no matter how they’re treated, all animals in zoos are forced to spend their lives as living exhibits.

Zoos would have you believe that they are all that stands between the animals and extinction for many of the species they house, but animals are almost never released back into the wild, and these massively expensive breeding programmes divert money from genuine conservation projects which could protect animals in their natural habitats – after all, what’s the point is breeding animals if they have no home left to go to?

The education argument doesn’t cut it either. Seeing bored, depressed and often mad animals pacing, swaying or circling constantly teaches children nothing about real animal behaviour – we certainly wouldn’t take our children to prison to teach them about human behaviour. They can learn far more valuable and inspiring lessons by watching nature documentaries that show wild animals where they belong.

Take action to help stop the suffering of caged animals by avoiding zoos and speaking out for lonely, trapped animals like Mali, the Philippines’ last captive elephant.

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Comments

  1. avatar Fred Nye says:

    Time for zoo fans to take a long hard look at themselves.

  2. avatar Harriet Austen says:

    Zoos are cruel and disgusting. Especially the bristol zoo. Hardly any room for the big cats and seals. Longleat safari park (not zoo) is the only place that iv seen where animals actually have acres upon acres of land to graze on. Thanks to PETA for all the awareness they raise. X

  3. avatar Sue Taylor says:

    You only have to look at how sad animals in zoos are to see that this barbaric age old practise of keeping animals in cages for humans to look at needs to be stopped now!!!

  4. avatar Avelina Pereira says:

    Animals should exist only in wild life, in their natural environement, not in cages to peoples pleasure.

  5. avatar TULA JONES says:

    Zoos are disgusting. Why import animals here from their natural environment. You can see pictures of them on TV, in books and on the internet. I found zoos boring and gruesome even as a child. I find them abominable now.

  6. avatar TULA JONES says:

    It is pityful to put animals in captivity for life, just for the whim of humans, and for extortionists to make money.

  7. avatar Brien Comerford says:

    Some humane and compassionate zoos are needed to provide safety and refuge for the world’s most direly endagered species on earth that are no longer able to live in their violent homelands wherein they are being poached and massacred to to the verge of extinction.

    • avatar Julie Wilson says:

      No, as pointed out in the article, there is no such thing as a humane zoo. It is better to let them go extinct because there is no point in trying to preserve them when they are never going to released back into the wild anyway.

    • avatar katie mulholland says:

      Julie wilson, your comment is just rediculous. What is your opinion on animals who are too ill/disabled to survive in the wild? Would you just release them to.die too or would you offer them a safe and secure environment to live in? True it may not be a perfect wild existance but it is preferable to a slow death out in the wild when.they are incapable of getting food for themselves or get rejected by their pack/herd/troop as they cant keep up. Flip it round and imagine it was humans you were talking about… Its like saying we shouldnt have retirement homes/special needs homes/long term hospital wards as whts the point, the people in those places arent having a fullfilling and free life so we may aswell dump them on the street as its better for them to.die being a free person than kept safe and healthy in an enclosed envkronment…

  8. avatar karin behle says:

    zoo`s are prisons!!!

  9. avatar karin behle says:

    zoo`s are prisons

  10. Don’t you people even see that you are making these animals miserable.? People today are the coldest most uncaring people in my life. Stop what you are doing and learn to warm your heart up as long as you have a chance to

  11. Basta animali al circo e allo zoo!!!! Tutte le creature hanno il diritto di essere libere!!!! Maledetto uomoooooooo!!! La vera bestia sei tu!!!!!

  12. avatar pauline aldred says:

    I know there saver there than being hunted for there tusks, but surely they should be in there own natural enviroment, and FREE,

  13. avatar Jes H says:

    I volunteer at a seal sanctuary, we save the lives and release 40-60 pups each winter. It used to be a grass roots organisation but today is owned by Merlin. We have seals there that cannot be released into the wild for health reasons and also other species from other zoos. Without the other seals there would be no sanctuary and the pups would just be dieing. The other animals we have are often unwanted by zoos or other locations so we offer them a retirement home where they are not expected to perform or do tricks. I am against unessacary captivity and breeding without direct conservation roles but on the flip side if an animal cannot survive in the wild surely it is better to offer it a home than release or euthanase???

  14. avatar carla lopez says:

    nadie tiene derecho a esclavizar, a violar sus derechos de cualquier animal, para que sea la distracción de las personas, son seres con sentimientos y derechos

  15. avatar rocio arestegui says:

    no quiero mas circos, son carceles para inocentes, lucro para inutiles, ya no!!!!

  16. avatar Håkan Esbjörs says:

    Wild hearts run free

  17. avatar Kiteman says:

    I am disappointed in this article.

    PETA present themselves as an authority on animal welfare, yet fail at the most basic levels of evidence.

    For instance, all zoos are painted as thoughtless murderers of “excess” animals, based on a single article, published two years ago, in a notoriously unreliable tabloid.

    And the claims that zoos do nothing for conservation, and even prevent funds getting to conservation projects (potentially seriously damaging claims, defamatory to the point of libel) are not even supported by hearsay, let alone the slim evidence required before such claim go into physical print.

    All in all, if PETA wish to possess the credibility to which they pretend, propaganda articles like this are going to have to be a lot better in future, otherwise you will have to resign yourselves to remaining on the wacko fringe that fills slow news days.

    ————

    Oh, and before the flames start, let me state for the record that I have no links, financial or otherwise, with any zoo or animal-related attractions. My only interest here is to promote evidence-based policy-making over emotional knee-jerks.

    • avatar Julie Wilson says:

      PETA is an animal rights organisation, not an animal welfare organisation (if you know the difference). Also, they are FAR from being on the wacko fringe that fills slow news days!

  18. avatar Jessica Wilson says:

    Give your money to conservation in the wild not zoos!

  19. avatar Elaine thonas says:

    Theres good and bad in this for instance colchester zoo is specially for endangered animals and is a good cause, monkey world is rescued animals. I think its the zoos abroad that are the pits they treat there animals like shit and there shouldnt be zoos abroad im so against animal cruelty

  20. avatar katie mulholland says:

    Peta I dont really understand why you have used the example of the gorilla not letting humans near her baby as a reason for zoos/conservation centres being bad…

    As someone who has worked in a rehabilitation centre for primates there is nothing better than seeing a mother being protective over her young when it comes to humans. At the end of the day if that gorilla were ever to be released into the wild it would be a horiffic shame if shewere to come across poachers and just ‘let’ them take her baby as she felt ‘safe’ around humans.

    I dont think it should reflect babdy on the zoo when.the animals still show a natural instinct to defend their territory/offspring from humans. If anything it shows that the zoo is doing something very very right!

  21. […] We’re hopeful that a complete ban on dolphin parks in India is on its way. In the UK, keeping dolphins in captivity is already outlawed, as it should be everywhere – because no animal belongs in a prison. […]

  22. avatar Maggie Cranfield says:

    they were all free before Man…let them be again…just kill the poachers first.

  23. avatar Anne Clark says:

    While i agree that zoos are not ideal and some are bad, i believe they play an important role. Howletts and Port Lympne wild animal parks have a hugely successful breeding troop of lowland gorillas and a sanctuary in the congo where groups have been reintroduced and are doing well in the wild. It is man that has led to their endangered state, surely it is up to us to try and redress the balance? Before slating all zoos look to the people that wear fur and buy ivory or rhino horn.

  24. […] please don’t buy into the hype. If you care about wild animals, don’t visit zoos which turn them into prisoners – give your money instead to habitat conservation programmes which could make a real difference to […]

  25. avatar hasah says:

    zoos are prisons

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