Mobile Zoos: no life for animals

By guest writer and CAPS Volunteer, Sarah Ogilvie

This year Zoo Awareness Weekend (25th – 28th March 2016) is focussing on the lives of animals in mobile zoos. 

So, why is awareness of mobile zoos so important – they’re just a bit of educational hands on fun aren’t they, especially during the Easter weekend?

Well, not really. Mobile zoos lead to stressful, confusing and miserable lives for the animals used by them, are unregulated, ineffectual educationally, and can be travelling health hazards.

First of all, let’s imagine you’re a meerkat owned by a mobile zoo. You wake up in your cage (or enclosure if you are lucky). You are more than likely alone, without others of your species. You may be in a room with other creatures, but you can’t understand their calls or noises.

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A meercat in a tiny, urine soaked cage at Tropical Inc. She is surrounded by carcasses.

Hands reach in to scoop you out, to pop you into a travelling container. You are taken outside, placed in a van and driven somewhere, bumping around in the dark.

You are then taken into the school, party or event. Everything is loud, overwhelming and dazzlingly bright, and you are once again, scooped out and transferred into a blur of hands, being passed around for hours. Even if they are gentle (and children can often be unintentionally rough) it is overwhelming and frightening. The camera flashes blind you, and unfamiliar noises startle you.

Finally, when the day is done, you are put back into your box in the van, and driven back to your cage for another lonely night. And for nocturnal creatures such as owls, life is even harder.

This is NO life for any living creature. Please don’t visit mobile zoos this Easter, or ever. Below we will look into other reasons to boycott mobile zoos, and how you can help.

To find out more about Tropical Inc. please visit:

https://www.captiveanimals.org/news/2013/11/exposed-horror-as-unspeakable-conditions-for-animals-at-mobile-zoo-business-are-revealed

Other reasons why mobile zoos are bad news, and not only for the animals:

  • Unchecked – Mobile zoos are a rogue industry. The mobile petting zoo industry is virtually unregulated, and so the conditions in which the animals are kept often remain completely unseen aswell as the accurate figures of animals held being unknown.
  • Potentially Infectious – Research has shown that even thorough hand washing after handling animals may not offer adequate protection from zoonotic diseases because germs easily spread into the surrounding area. And you have no idea what state these animals are living in whilst not at the fair or party.
  • Ineffective and outdated education tool – the vast majority of animal species held by mobile zoos belong to species that are not threatened in the wild. There are many better ways to enthuse your children about conserving species, that don’t directly harm individual animals. Earlier research has also shown that endangered wild animals being presented in human-orientated settings may actually damage public perceptions of conservation efforts.

YOU have the power to help these animals and educate others!

  • Don’t ever hire or visit a mobile zoo event.
  • Report a mobile zoo near you: http://mobilezoo.org.uk/report-zoo/ and download a campaign poster from the same page.
  • Hold a fundraising event to support our mobile zoo campaigns
  • Take part in online actions over Easter weekend – we will be releasing details of these on our Facebook page.
  • Oppose mobile zoo events via Facebook.
  • Write to your local paper about the reality of mobile zoos.
  • Hold a mobile zoo information stall in your town centre, local library or school.
  • Make a donation to support the ongoing campaign here: https://www.captiveanimals.org/donate-mobile-zoos
  • Re-tweet and share this article on social media.

Finally, for animal-friendly alternatives to mobile zoos, visit http://mobilezoo.org.uk/alternatives/ for fun and exciting activities that the animals would thank you for if they could.

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