Animal abuse in zoos and marine parks | Animal Rights Channel

Are zoos really cruel? Is animal abuse in zoos actually common?

Answer: It completely depends on the zoo. Some zoos have gone to great trouble and expense to recreate habitats for the animals in their care. Most reputable zoos are staffed by people with university degrees in animal science.

As a society, we have come a long way since the days of caged tigers and chimpanzees.

Now zoo animals have constructed habitats that look like the savannas or rock formations in which those animals would exist in the wild. The animals are surrounded by real vegetation that would typically exist in their native habitat.

Zoo animals receive exactly the right foods in the right amount. And, if they are naturally social, they usually get to socialize with others of their kind.

Zoos have three important functions:

  1. To educate the public about animals in various parts of the world. When a zoo is doing its job, it posts a sign in front of the animal exhibit that tells you important information about that animal–where it is from and something about its lifestyle.
  2. To protect endangered animals, implement breeding programs to ensure the survival of the species, and create public awareness of the plight of endangered animals.
  3. Many zoos take in injured animals and save them. If the animal recovers without losing its wildness, it can be re-released to the wild. That was the story of a bald eagle who was dying of lead poisoning until a zoo nursed him back to life.

Zoos prolong life in many animals

Some animals that have made it into reputable zoos have basically drawn the high card. According to a 2016 study, eighty percent of the mammals at the zoo will live longer than they would have in the wild.

Zoos, you see, remove the threat of predation while providing medical care. Instead of dying of a bacterial or fungal infection, a white tail deer in the zoo gets a shot of antibiotics and goes on living.

It is true that zoos severely limit the range of animals that have the instinct to roam. Big cats, wolves, elephants, zebras, and many birds would typically migrate over thousands of miles.

But one might conclude that, for some animals, the benefits of expert medical care and freedom from predators outweigh the benefits of roaming.

Zoos are not right for some species

Does that mean that animal abuse in zoos is a thing of the past? Not really. There are some animals that should never be in a zoo or marine park. Polar bears, for instance, should never be in zoos, except as a last resort to save their lives. It is simply too difficult to recreate the freezing natural habitat of a polar bear. And polar bears will overheat to the point of psychosis in a zoo environment.

Similarly, sea turtles, dolphins and whales do not belong in a zoo or marine park unless they are so badly injured that they cannot survive in the wild. Dolphins and whales have big brains. They understand that they are captive.

While they might take some joy from performing, in general they are miserable. Captive dolphins who swim around their tanks with their eyes squeezed shut are testament to this fact.

We all need to welcome the recent trend of marine parks to quit acquiring new marine mammals.

Beware cruel roadside attractions

Meanwhile, there are a number of small, private animal attractions that need to shut down. These exhibits are sometimes called “roadside zoos.” The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have compiled a list of the worst of these zoos. These roadside attractions, sometimes billed as “adventures,” definitely participate in animal abuse in zoos.

One of these institutions kept a primate in isolation for decades, even though all primates are extremely social animals. Another one pits tiger cubs against chimpanzees for the amusement of visitors.

The downside to zoos is that they encourage people to see animals as entertainment. Animals have rights to live as they were born to do, independent of what they may or may not provide to humans.

What you can do:

If you are concerned about animal abuse in zoos, don’t spend any money at small zoos that are advertised on billboards off the highway. Instead, visit only zoos that have made every effort to create appropriate habitat for animals. Make sure that the zoo you support allows animals of a kind to socialize and does not isolate any social animals.

Facts about animal abuse and what you can do

When it comes to facts about animals abuse, dogs and cats  get the most attention. According to the ASPCA, shelters euthanize 670,000 dogs every year in the United States. And 860,000 cats meet the same fate.

These facts about animal abuse do not include the number of animals that are beaten to death or starved by their owners or dumped on the highway to die before they can be saved by a rescue group or picked up by animal control.

The good news is that this statistic is going down. Due to the proliferation of rescue groups who pull animals out of pounds and high-kill shelters, the United States is euthanizing fewer dogs than ten years ago.

What you can do: Don’t breed your animals. Spay and neuter your pets. Adopt a dog directly from a high-kill shelter. Volunteer at a no-kill rescue. Start up your own no-kill rescue.

Facts about animals abuse: Corporate chickens

If you pick up a brand-name chicken at the grocery store, chances are it was factory farmed. It might be beautifully packaged and cheap. The chickens, themselves, are paying the balance on that cheap meal.

Factory farming involves placing chickens in cages where they are virtually immobile. They can’t move naturally, as they would do in the wild, and that makes them get fat faster.

Chickens in these conditions sometimes peck each other to death out of frustration and madness. To prevent that, some farm owners chop off their beaks. Factory farmers also dose chickens with growth hormones.

What you can do: Pay the extra bucks for organic eggs and chickens. Look for the terms “organic” or “free-range” on the packaging and buy that instead of Tyson. Better yet, buy your chicken and eggs at the farmer’s market. Get involved with community supported agriculture programs in your community. This involves supporting small local farms by pledging to buy a certain amount of food from them every month. In many cases, the farms will deliver a box of veggies to your door. If your local codes permit it, you can raise your own chickens.

Facts about animals abuse: Extinction

Many animal species are dying out altogether. Sea turtles like the loggerhead, leatherback, and the Kemp’s Ridley are dying out because people and businesses near the ocean don’t turn their lights off at night.

Polar bears, penguins, and snow hares are in danger of extinction due to climate change, especially warmer temperatures in the arctic.

Monarch butterflies are in danger because too many people think that milkweed is a weed and they pull it up and trash it instead of cherishing it. Milkweed is the monarch caterpillar’s only food. Without it, there will be no more monarchs.

Worldwide, trophy hunters, endangered species traders, and ivory merchants are decimating gorillas, elephants, tigers, and rhinos.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the dangers to animals.

Facts about animal abuse: The myth of human superiority

Anyone who has owned a cat or dog knows that animals feel pain. Animals also feel joy, affection, loyalty, protectiveness, outrage, and loneliness.

To assume that people are more important than animals is egotistical. There’s no science for that assumption. When we “test” animals to see if they are as smart as we are, we skew the results by testing for what we are good at.

In many arenas, animals are superior to humans. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Chameleons can change color. Humans can’t.
  2. Dogs can smell illegal cargo (guns, invasive species, endangered species, bombs). If people could do this, we wouldn’t need cargo sniffing dogs.
  3. Monkeys can grasp a rail and hang from their feet.
  4. Cats not only find their way home if they have been stolen or lost, they can also find their owners at a new and unfamiliar address. This is called psi trailing.

 

 

 

 

Nicotine studies should be done on humans

By Lynn Hamilton

I applaud the United States Food and Drug Administration for its decision to close down a study that killed four monkeys.

Since 2014, the National Center for Toxicological Research has been conducting a study on the affects of nicotine on squirrel monkeys. That study has now been shut down, after pressure from Jane Goodall and animal rights organizations.

Nicotine studies should be conducted on paid, human volunteers, preferably those who are already smokers. Studying small animals to an effort to understand how various chemicals affect humans is not efficient.

I think we all knew that nicotine kills people. And now we know it kills monkeys. Have we actually learned anything new here?

We already know that nicotine is addictive, and we already know that it is a powerful addiction, one that is difficult to overcome.

For further, more refined knowledge on the exact effects of nicotine use, human volunteers should be recruited exclusively. The problem with using monkeys is that:

  1. Monkeys don’t smoke voluntarily outside labs. Humans do.
  2. Monkeys didn’t volunteer to be part of a dangerous experiment. Humans will volunteer for dangerous experiments if well paid.
  3. Monkeys are in no way paid or rewarded for such experiments. Humans will, reasonably enough, demand to be paid.
  4. Subjecting an innocent animal to a substance already known to cause death is morally irresponsible.

We support the Wildlife Selfie Code

Lynn Hamilton and Joel Worth, publishers of the Animal Rights Channel, have signed the Wildlife Selfie Code and we encourage others to do so. You can sign the selfie pledge here: https://www.worldanimalprotection.us.org/wildlife-selfie-code

By taking the pledge, you promise not to take a selfie if the animal is being restrained or is being held captive. It seems that this pledge is necessary because many monkeys in Asia are basically being held captive for the purpose of tourist entertainment. They are often tied down between selfies. Obviously you don’t want to encourage an industry like this.

The code also constrains people from picking up or hugging wild animals. We don’t want to send the message that it’s okay to pick up turtles or hug baby wolves, no matter how much they might look like puppies. Doing so endangers their development as wild animals. Worse, we are likely to transmit bacteria that will make them sick or dead.

Wild animals should also not be fed. A fed animal is a dead animal because feeding animals erases their natural fear of people. Bears and wild cats who lose their fear of people are likely to be shot. Don’t offer a dolphin a fish in order to get it to smile for the camera.

When is it okay to take a selfie? Only when the animal is free to run away from you. Learn to use the zoom function on your smart phone or, better yet, learn to take real pictures with a camera.

Cloning: Primates yes; humans no

The big news today is that science has managed to clone monkeys. PETA’s stand is that cloning is a huge waste of resources and represents too much suffering on the way to getting it right.

However, cloning does, theoretically, have the potential to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

Put another way, it’s possible that, by cloning endangered animals, we may be able to save a few species, once we have solved the problems of climate change that are driving animals extinct in the masses.

Today’s news headlines hint that human cloning is but a few short experimental steps away. Here at AnimalRightsChannel, we want to make an unequivocal statement: Nothing could be more immoral than cloning humans, and science should not ever attempt it.

For one thing, humans have no trouble reproducing themselves and often do so by accident. For another, our species threatens every other species on the planet. We invented climate change. Other animals are guiltless of that problem. Humans, not animals, invented air and water pollution. Humans, not animals, invented mono-cropping which threatens the world’s food supply.

So let’s not clone ourselves. Agreed?