Many of you will have heard the terrible news of Marius the giraffe who was killed at Copenhagen Zoo as he was ‘surplus’ to requirements. His death has shocked many and sparked fresh debate on zoos and their captive breeding programmes. Culling ‘surplus’ animal in this way is just one example of the practices carried out by zoos which we continue to expose and which prompted CAPS to start Zoo Awareness Weekend in the early 1990s.
Zoo Awareness Weekend happens over Easter Weekend, when many people consider visiting the zoo with their children. CAPS supporters all over the country hold events to help educate people on the issue of animal captivity. You can get involved too by:
These events can be held in your school, workplace, at home, with friends or on the streets in your town! If you want to get involved email Nicola@captiveanimals.org or sign up to our alert list here. We will suplly materials and support to make your event a meaningful one for the animals!
Growing awareness of zoo cruelty
The whole concept of zoos is increasingly under question as our knowledge of animal behaviour, natural history and threats facing wildlife increases. Zoos have historically been about tourism, and providing a ‘day out’ rather than anything to do with education, conservation and research.
Many people are now aware of the real lives of wild animal societies, through natural history programmes on TV, books and the internet. A growing number of TV programmes show that the wonderful wildlife in of our own gardens, parks and other local areas can be as exciting as that of other continents.
The increasing awareness of animal behaviour also reveals further the impoverished lives of animals confined in zoos and the physical and behavioural problems captivity creates. Zoos also play an insignificant role in conservation, with the protection of natural habitats being the only serious way forward to prevent further losses of species.
Zoo Awareness Weekend aims to spread this awareness and encourage people to withdraw support for captive animal entertainment facilities.
Across the country there will be peaceful protests outside zoos, information stalls in town centres, and people will be writing letters to local and national newspapers to spread this awareness.
To get involved, organise an event and let us know or contact us to be put in touch with local campaign groups.
Over the last two Zoo Awareness Weekends, CAPS has launched two hugely successful campaigns; A Licence to Suffer and the Fight for Flight. With local and national press coverage of both the campaign work of the charity combined with the fantastic efforts of CAPS supporters, it means that important issues surrounding animal captivity are given much-needed attention.
Our Licence to Suffer campaign was launched on Zoo Awareness Weekend 2012 and formally welcomed by Government later that year, as it was revealed that there was an almost complete lack of enforcement action being taken against zoos which were failing to meet legal standards. As a result of this work, formal guidance on the application of the law to zoos in this country has been changed. We hope that this will result in zoos being held accountable for their failings going forward and ultimately see some zoos shut down for good.
The Fight for Flight campaign was launched last year and seeks to end the cruel practice of pinioning birds in zoos; a procedure which sees part of the bird’s wing amputated to permanently prevent flight. Following the launch of the campaign, two major zoos have promised to stop pinioning and it has been suggested that a large number of private collections will also be forced to end this barbaric practice.
With these fantastic campaigns under our belt, 2014 will be no exception. We have big plans for Zoo Awareness Weekend which we look forward to sharing with you. Once again, we plan to shine a spotlight on the zoo industry and give the animals a voice during the weekend when so many families will be heading to the zoo to entertain themselves. Please get in touch and join us in our efforts.