Written by PETA
My "case of the Mondays" went up in smoke as soon as I read about a capless, clueless cop who landed himself in hot water during a PETA India protest outside the Calcutta Zoo.
The officer, Assistant Commissioner Anil Kar, wasn't about to interrupt a smoke break to make an arrest. Instead, he held his coffin nail* (see note below) in one hand—and in the other, he held PETA India's own Chiranjeet Karar, who was decked out in a police uniform and monkey mask and was encouraging people to boycott zoos because they incarcerate and exploit animals, not to mention that Indian zoos are extremely substandard and that animals are frequently denied basic care.
The multitasking officer didn't realize that smoking on duty is a no-no (Yes, Rule 13 of the Police Regulation of Calcutta states that police officers in uniform are forbidden to smoke on the streets), as is abandoning various parts of his uniform.
(*Or is it "coughin' nail?" I guess either one works, right?)
Written by Karin Bennett
Since 1981, Sisi had been incarcerated at the Manila Zoo. Although orangutans are tree-dwelling animals, Sisi was forced to live much of her life in a tiny, litter-filled concrete-and-steel enclosure. She was on display continually in a cage that was surrounded by noisy souvenir stands and food vendors, and she was provided with nothing to hold her interest, help her pass the time, or stimulate her keen senses.
Sisi's death, reportedly from cancer, is just one indication of how animals have been left in deteriorating health without veterinary care at this atrocious zoo. Because PETA Asia-Pacific remains concerned about the well-being of the surviving animals at the Manila Zoo, who all lack the space, exercise, privacy, and mental stimulation that they require, the organization has decided to send a funeral wreath to the zoo in Sisi's honor. The wreath includes a ribbon emblazoned with the message "Sisi: Suffered in Life, Peace in Death" and will be accompanied by a card calling on zoo officials to close the facility's doors.
Written by Shawna Flavell
In March, we let you know that three lions and two tigers who had been held captive in Kansas in what was essentially a junkyard had been released and put into the care of authorities. In case you've repressed memories of what these animals were subjected to for years, here's a reminder:
PETA first learned of the big cats' plight in May 2008. After working on the case for nearly a year, we were finally able to secure their release from this decrepit prison. Because it would never be possible to release the animals into the wild, we immediately launched a search to find them suitable homes. The Detroit Zoo (a progressive zoo that accepts wildlife in need) stepped forward and offered to house all three lions, while the CPT Sanctuary in North Carolina gave the tigers a place to roam. The contrast with their former dilapidated cages is striking.
After Nitro was moved into the sanctuary, staffers discovered that he may be partially blind. In order to help him adapt, they will add various scents and substrates to his enclosure to help him locate the boundaries of his new home.
The lions now have space to roam around and a series of vertical rocks and ledges where they can hang out and survey the landscape. Even better, the Detroit Zoo recently announced plans to double the size of its enclosure, allowing the lions more expansive terrain and enabling the zoo to provide the animals with the psychological enrichment that they deserve.
Written by Liz Graffeo
We all know what a friend beloved TV host Bob Barker is to animals. From ending every episode of The Price Is Right with a plea to spay and neuter animal companions to keeping the showcases fur-free, he's never been afraid to speak up for animals.
Not to get all "the price is wrong" on you or anything, but in Cherokee, North Carolina, there are three "tourist attractions" that keep bears in grossly inhumane conditions. The neurotic, hungry bears are confined to desolate concrete pits in which they pace back and forth, walk in endless circles, cry and whimper, fight with one another, and beg tourists to toss them a morsel of food.
What do these tourist traps have to do with Bob Barker? As a compassionate person of Native American descent (he spent much of his youth at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota), Bob has requested a meeting with the principal chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation to discuss an end to the town's displays of bears in pits and cages.
As he wrote to Principal Chief Hicks, "Cherokee has so much to offer, such as its beautiful mountains, museums, cultural and historical exhibits, Native American shops, friendly residents, and casino. The caged bears may have been a big attraction at one time but are now seen as an embarrassment to the community and should be permanently closed down."
To join Bob in asking that the cruel bear pits be closed down, please send a respectful letter to Principal Chief Hicks letting him know that bears should be respected, not left in a pit to languish.
Written by Amanda Schinke
She had always dreamed of going on an African safari, but now that the time is here, Lily Allen feels like she could never take pictures of the animals because of the stalked feeling that she gets from the paparazzi in her own life. In two recent tweets, she wrote, "Safari is something I've always wanted to do. Don't think I'll sleep tonight," and then, "I already feel guilty about exploiting the animals with my camera, I've got a big long lenz, reminds me of some c***s I know."
Expletives aside, Lily's concerns show her sweet nature (her pooch is a rescue), and we're impressed with her sensitivity to animals. She did decide to go on a safari instead of to a zoo, after all. We're sure that Lily knows that zoos are nothing more than concrete jungles, where animals are held prisoner in tiny enclosures day in and day out, and that the animals resort to abnormal, repetitive behavior to alleviate the mind-numbing boredom of confinement. The animals are also stalked constantly by hordes of families, flashing cameras at the ready, all wanting to get a glimpse of the action. No wonder Lily empathizes with them.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Each spring, zoos churn out baby animals like banks churn out big holiday bonuses for executives—but Average Joe and Jane don't grumble about tiger cubs. They simply coo at the babies.
Leave it to a PETA member wearing a tiger mask and holding a cardboard sign reading, "Pittsburgh Zoo Made Me Homeless," to bring home the point: Zoos should stop breeding animals and instead reinvent themselves as "rescue zoos."
Written by Karin Bennett
OK, well, that's pretty much all that these four lovelies from PETA Asia-Pacific were wearing outside the Manila Zoo, but they certainly drew the crowd's attention to their campaign to improve conditions for animals at the cramped, decrepit zoo.
Thanks go out to these ladies and the rest of the team at PETA Asia-Pacific for their efforts to get the Manila Zoo to shape up its act.
Written by Karin Bennett
In case you needed any more evidence that chimpanzees don't want to be locked up in zoos, a chimpanzee named Santino in a Swedish zoo has been collecting hundreds of stones to throw at zoo visitors. On many mornings, Santino calmly gathers rocks into a pile, waits until the zoo opens, and then uses them to dispel the crowd of gawkers surrounding his enclosure.
Can you blame him? If I'd been snatched from my family and forced to live on public display, I'd probably start throwing things too. Santino has also been observed tapping on concrete boulders to find weak spots and breaking off loose chunks to add to his arsenal.
Researchers say that Santino is demonstrating the ability to plan and think about the future. We thought this was already obvious, but some people persist in the mistaken belief that animals act only on "instinct," while we humans always act with intelligence. Well, guess what? Chimpanzees are clearly intelligent, and yet they are still bred and raised to be shown off in zoos, circuses, and other forms of so-called "entertainment." What will it take for these animals to get the respect that they deserve?
Written by Lianne Turner
Back in September 2005, four chimpanzees made a break for freedom from a depressing roadside zoo called Zoo Nebraska after workers at the zoo failed to lock the animals' cage properly. Ultimately, three of the chimpanzees—Reuben, Jimmy Joe, and Tyler (who had been discarded by the entertainment industry once he got too big and strong to reliably perform in TV and movies)—were shot and killed by police. You can view a police video of the escape here.
USDA reports obtained by PETA reveal that in the six and a half years leading up to this incident, the zoo had been cited repeatedly for improper care of exotic animals. Citations included failure to maintain enclosures in order to prevent escape of animals, failure to have a disaster program with means to restrain or capture animals in the event of an emergency, failure to train employees in how to operate a tranquilizer gun, failure to provide shelter, failure to provide primates with environmental enhancement to promote psychological well-being, failure to provide veterinary care to tigers and primates, insufficient access to drinking water, and sanitation violations. The long list of repeated violations and the fatal escape attempt spurred the USDA to file charges against Zoo Nebraska in 2007; last month, the USDA finally revoked the zoo's license.
Most zoos, circuses, and animal trainers that handle great apes have a long list of similar violations, but, all too often, no action is taken until after tragedy strikes. Just this past week in Connecticut, a captive chimpanzee named Travis, who had appeared in advertisements for Coca-Cola and Old Navy, attacked his owner, her friend, and two police officers before he was shot to death. Some people may think that seeing chimpanzees dress up in costumes and mug for TV cameras is "cute," but these heartbreaking events speak loud and clear: Great apes are wild animals who belong in their natural habitat. You can read the letter that we sent to the governor of Connecticut calling for a ban on keeping primates as "pets" here and you can take action yourself here.
$825 billion. That's a lot of stimulus package. And Congress says zoos and aquariums won't see a penny of it.
While that's all well and good (as zoos are no vacation homes for animals), we've come up with a proposal that's a win-win situation for some big zoos.
We have offered to provide a lifetime supply of fruit or a donation toward animal care of $1,000 for every animal if the zoos end their breeding programs and reinvent themselves as sanctuaries for exotic animals rescued from circuses, abusive owners, and roadside attractions. Or, a zoo can get our money or fruit if it becomes a modern "virtual zoo" with animatronics and video footage of wildlife instead of real captives. That way, the animals are happier and the zoo has less work, more visitors, and some funds.
Do you think they'll go for it? Click here to read our letter to the Denver Zoo, and then tell us what you think.
Written by Christine Doré
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.