A day out to the ethical zoo can fill your week with excitement. Whether it’s a family day out, a school trip, or a date, visiting a zoo can enable you to see animals you’ve never seen before and provide new and exciting memories.
However, at what cost does this entertainment come at? You hear stories of animals being overworked, malnourished, unhappy, and neglected, so how can we avoid supporting these zoos?
How to know if a zoo is ethical?
A little research goes a long way when choosing which zoo to visit. The quickest way to assure a zoo is more ethical is to check if the zoo has a form of Accreditation. Any ethical zoos in Britain would have an accreditation from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). This would ensure that the institution has very high standards of care for their animals and contributes to conservation projects worldwide.
Research and preservation are highly important for these zoos, and they will have examples of successful breeding programs, cases of animals being reintroduced into their natural habitat and clear research on their animals and how they are interacting in captivity. There are examples of Associations all over the world (EAZA being the example across Europe and AZA being the main example through the US). However, some associations have lower
standards. So ensure you do more research into the zoos.
Furthermore, it’s important to research the missions of the zoo, making sure conservation is high in their goals. Is the zoo a non-profit organization? Many ethical zoos use all their money to maintain high standards of conservation, leaving little or no profit. Looking at the enclosure should provide enough insight into the type of zoo they are.
Ethical zoos should have varied and large enclosures – each one carefully constructed to suit the individual species. It should be as close to their natural habitat as possible, providing terrain to allow the animals to hide, sleep, play, and act like they would in the wild. This is a good sign of an ethical zoo.
Another telltale sign is the types of interactions you can have with the animals at the zoo. Under no circumstances should you be able to take part in any activities such as animal performances, elephant riding, or petting non-domesticated animals.
Ethical zoos would concentrate on observing animals in their natural habitats whereas non-ethical zoos will concentrate on using animals purely for entertainment purposes.
Examples of ethical zoos in the UK
Even though it’s located close to the city center, London Zoo provides one of the best ethical zoo experiences in the UK. They concentrate on giving the animals huge and realistic enclosures that allow them to act like they would in the wild. Furthermore, they take part in many local conservation efforts such as monitoring the Thames marine mammals.
Yorkshire wildlife park
The small zoo in Yorkshire has been slowly growing over the years, starting out as a small farm. This amazing project aims to rescue animals from harsh conditions and let them live the rest of their lives freely in huge enclosures.
Recently in 2018, they rescued 4 Ussuri brown bears from horrific captivity in Japan. Now you get to watch them run around and play in the mud! This amazing sanctuary provides caring homes for its animals and deserves your support.
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