News from the Natural World: The UK Government has passed a new law forcing all zoos to add signs showing exactly where and how the animals were captured.
Despite opposition from The Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums the law passed with a majority of 400 to 225. The bill will force all zoos to include a placard next to each animal exhibit. The placard will say exactly how the animal was captured. If the animal was born in captivity the placard will also include information on how the animal’s parents were captured.
Most modern Zoos breed their animals or acquire them from other zoos. But people have forgotten that this shifting baseline removes the fact that at some point a wild animal was ruthlessly from it’s natural habitat. The Jane Goodall Institute showed that for every Chimpanzee captured and imprisoned in a zoo at least 10 others were killed in the wild. In addition, many were dying during capture, transportation or due to stress. In-fact each year, thousands of animals all across the globe are captured, trapped and transported around the world. This is all because humans need something to do on a Saturday afternoon. Or so that they can sell cheap and tacky plastic toys for children.
Zoos forced to say how animals were captured
Babies are the great crowd-pleasers, but when the babies grow up, they don’t attract the same number of people. So zoos often sell them off in order to make room for younger animals. The unwanted adult animals are sometimes sold to “game” farms where hunters pay to kill them. In addition, some are killed for their meat and hides. Other “surplus” animals may be sold to smaller, more poorly run zoos or, worse, to laboratories for experiments.
New law to show how animals are captured for zoos
On top of this most animals are also relentlessly transferred between zoos. They often undergo huge stress and pain from moving around endlessly. One infamous Elephant called Sissy was transferred 11 times during her lifetime. There is a huge ecosystem of transportation and artificial movement for all zoo animals. The new law includes a provision that zoos must add a tally of how many times the animal has been transferred as well.
The new law introduced will force zoos to include the exact details of how the animal was captured, how many other animals died during the capture, how many times the animal has been transported and it’s current state of mental health. London Zoo has been forced to include a placard on it’s “Gorilla Kingdom” exhibit of Silverback Western Lowland Gorillas which reads;
“Born in Angola, captured, beaten, tranquillised and removed from the wild. 7 of my family were killed in the struggle to protect me. I was then transported over 3,000 miles over 7 months in a small cage and have again been transported between 4 different zoos. Currently in London and dreaming of the dense tropical jungles of my homeland.”
Zoos need to change now
One commenter stated “I’d actually forgotten that animals lived in the wild and that every single animal in a zoo or aquarium has at some point been captured, imprisoned and taken from the wild” another said “What!? Don’t animals belong in Zoo’s?”
One zoo owner argued for the motion and went one step further saying that “Can’t we just scrap the animals all together and get them into the gift shop immediately!?” another argued that the motion was pointless as people never stop to read the information on the animals exhibits and highlighted a study which revealed that the average zoo attendee looked at an elephant for no longer than 19.5 seconds and other animals a median of 8 seconds.
Regardless of it’s effectiveness this landmark ruling could change the way humans look at animals in zoos.
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