1. Commitment at governmental level to ensure no new zoos open in the UK
2. Immediate closure of any zoos falling below existing licensing standards
3. A phasing-out of breeding programmes and legal commitment imposed on zoos to take responsibility for animals (and any accidental offspring) for the entirety of their natural lives
5. A consolidation of all animals remaining following end of breeding programmes in fewer, well funded sites run as sanctuaries
6. Closure of remaining zoos
CAPS maintains its position on the keeping of animals in zoos on the following grounds:
Ethics: We maintain that holding any animal captive for human entertainment is unethical and cannot be justified. Furthermore, we believe that the keeping of animals in zoos sends a damaging message to the general public, and particularly children and young people, by the implication that animals can be maintained in captivity to satisfy our own curiosity, despite the animal gaining no benefit from the practice. The practice implies that the animals’ own lives hold no inherent value in their own right; the keeping of animals in zoos therefore have negative educational impact.
Welfare: We maintain that zoos cannot meet animals’ natural physical, social, behavioural and emotional needs and thus the welfare of zoo animals is severely compromised.
Education and Conservation: We maintain that zoos deliver a misleading, and damaging message by implying (both implicitly and explicitly) that captivity is beneficial to the cause of species conservation and that visitors are able to witness “wildlife” first-hand in the zoo environment. This message directly contradicts that of many leading experts in the field of conservation and the overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates that species can be conserved only as part of their entire ecosystem; that is, habitat conservation is the only way in which effective conservation can be realised. In addition, by virtue of their captive state, zoo animals do not behave as their wild counterparts thus seeing an animal in a zoo does not educate as to that species’ life in the wild. As a result, the zoo animal represents a distorted view of its own species.
Our undercover investigations and detailed research is essential in making a real difference to both the lives of individual animals held in zoos, and in contributing to the wider debate on zoos and their place in today’s society. Below are some examples of what our work has achieved in just the last few years.
West Midlands Safari Park (2012) An investigation by CAPS and Lion Aid has linked West Midland Safari Park (WMSP) and the Kinoshita Circus in Japan.
A representative from West Midland Safari Park has recently admitted to supplying white lion cubs to a well-known circus animal trainer, Jim Clubb, who’s animal training business ‘Amazing Animals’ operates under long-term contractual arrangement to train and supply animals to the circus in Japan . Further research carried out more recently by Lion Aid has shown import and export records of white lions match with the information provided, and monitoring of captive lion populations appears to confirm that West Midland is the only UK zoo with sufficient white lions to be the source.
UK zoo trade body, BIAZA, confirmed that they will be carrying out an investigation into the matter. Read more here.
Port Lympne Safari Park (2012) In September 2012, CAPS exposed Port Lympne Safari Park after they played host to Ibiza’s ‘Zoo Project’ dance festival. With concern over public and animal safety, investigators from the charity went along to the festival to assess how the risks to were managed. Footage, photos and statements from the investigators confirmed open drug use and alcohol consumption around the zoo site. Fesival goers were documented in restricted areas of the park and insufficient security measures were in place. The national newspaper, the Sunday Express covered the story, read more here.
A Licence to Suffer (2012): A groundbreaking report released in April 2012 which lays bare the failings of the zoo licensing system in England to effectively protect animals (and people). The numerous flaws discovered during the in-depth research commissioned by CAPS and carried out by J. Casamitjana, demonstrates that the zoo licensing system is not only not working, but is fundamentally unworkable. Click HERE to find out more.
Edinburgh Zoo (2011) – In January 2011, Edinburgh zoo announced its plans to bring two giant pandas to Scotland; the first of their species in the UK for around 18 years. The deal was celebrated as a victory in terms of diplomatic relations between China and the UK and has been claimed as an important move with regard to the species’ conservation status. CAPS provided evidence to show that Edinburgh Zoo was persistently in breach of licensing conditions and that DEFRA inspectors had raised serious concerns that the zoo may have its license revoked in 2012 due to failure to meet conditions. The resulting media coverage raised significant awareness on the issue and served to inform the general public on the reality of the panda deal.
Knowsley Safari Park (2011) – An exposé led by CAPS following information provided by a whistleblower showed the safari park to be in contravention of legislation on disposal of carcasses as well as raising queries over handling of firearms. The exposé led to an unprecedented public outcry against the park, as well as public admission by the park that they were unaware of the relevant statutory regulation.
Woburn Safari Park (2010) – An exposé in early 2010 led by CAPS following information provided by a whistleblower led to an investigation into Woburn safari park. Our whistleblower reported that lions were being locked into their dilapidated night-time accommodation for up to 18 hours a day. The safari park was forced to take action on various issues following the special inspection prompted by our whistleblower.
Tweddle Farm Zoo (2010) – appalling standards exposed by CAPS which ultimately resulted in the illegal zoo having to withdraw its application for a license and a number of animals being moved to a safe home for life.
Noah’s Ark (2009) – Zoo lost its membership of trade body BIAZA following a CAPS exposé showing that the zoo was trading tigers with a UK circus and disposing of carcasses in breach of legislation
We will continue to carry out our undercover investigations into individual zoos in order to expose poor practice and standards in order to add to the growing body of evidence highlighting the issues behind the zoo industry
We will continue to carry out research using recognised methods in order to compile robust evidence on the failings of the zoo industry; in particular the lack of legislative enforcement and monitoring within the industry and its direct effect on the safety and well-being of zoo animals
We are increasingly called upon by the national media to offer our opinion to the zoo debate, as well as being called upon to provide educational materials and information to interested parties including schools, colleges and professional bodies. Seen as experts in our field, we will continue to inform and educate the general public on our stance and fostering better understanding of the truth behind zoos.