Monday, March 24, 2008

The private zoo

"The roadside zoo is a grossly substandard, usually amateur facility that lacks trained, experienced animal care staff, proper funding and safety practices.

Animals are confined to small, barren, often filthy cages, with next to nothing to do day in and day out.

Animals in roadside zoos suffer poor welfare as a result of inadequate housing, care and diet. Deprived of opportunities to exercise their natural behaviours, most animals experience some degree of frustration and boredom. In the most severe cases, these animals become psychologically disturbed and may manifest abnormal behaviours."

-World Society for the Protection of Animals

What a load of rubbish!!!!!

A "roadside zoo" should more correctly be called a "private zoo". As far as I am aware, all zoos are at the side of a road, otherwise how would anyone get there!

Anyway, to get back to the point, a private zoo is usually a family owned and funded collection of animals. A private zoo does not receive any government funding.

The animals may be large exotics, such as lions and tigers. or domestics such as rabbits, donkeys, goats and sheep. The latter being more commonly referred to as a "petting zoo". They may be restricted to one type of animal, or may contain a variety of species. Collections can start off quite small and grow as time goes by.

I have visited many private collections of animals. It is my experience that the owners of these collections are experts in their field. They know their animals intimately because they've been with them day in, day out for years. They have far more experience than a university trained "zookeeper" who may have been working at a different zoo last week.

Private zoos tend to lack videos, piped jungle sounds, indoor exhibits, fancy lighting, extravagant habitat exhibits, fancy gift shops or restaurants. These aesthetic extras are merely for the benefit of the visitor, they have no bearing whatsoever on the health or wellbeing of the animals.

Many private zoos become dumping grounds for unwanted animals both domestic and exotic. These animals are taken in, housed, fed and cared for, for the rest of their lives at the expense of the zoos owner.

There are currently, a number of private zoos in Canada but they are an endangered species.

Organisations such as peta, wspca, zoocheck and voice for animals have outlawed zoos as bad places where animals are systematically abused by both owners and visitors.

If you care about zoos, and would like your children and grandchildren to learn respect for animals, support your local zoo.

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