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Zoos and Pseudo-Sanctuaries

Zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries, marine parks, traveling zoos, roadside zoos, and other similar attractions imprison animals who long to be free in order to profit from the people who come to gawk.

The living conditions at these attractions are often dismal, with animals confined to tiny, filthy, barren enclosures, but even the best artificial environments can’t come close to matching the space, diversity, and freedom that animals have in their natural habitats. This deprivation—combined with relentless boredom, loneliness, and sometimes even abuse from the people who are supposed to be caring for them—causes many captive animals to lose their minds. Animals with this condition, called “zoochosis,” often rock, sway, or pace endlessly, and some even mutilate themselves.

Zoos claim to promote education, but the only thing to be learned at these sad facilities is how animals who want to be free act when they are confined. Zoochosis is so rampant that some zoos even resort to administering mood-altering drugs such as Prozac to address the public’s complaints about abnormal behaviors.

Animals in pseudo-sanctuaries are often “rescued” from one tragic situation only to end up in another. These seedy operations rake in donations by preying on people’s sympathy while exploiting the animals in their care.

Many drive-through wildlife parks use baby animals to attract customers through the front gate, while older and unwanted animals are quietly shipped out the back gate, sometimes by the hundreds each year. Many of these animals end up at auctions or slaughterhouses or on hunting ranches.

Marine mammal parks capture animals from the wild, tearing animal families apart; confine highly intelligent animals who were meant to swim up to 100 miles a day to small, concrete, chemically treated tanks; and force the animals to learn silly circus tricks, often by withholding food. Whales and dolphins at these facilities typically die decades earlier than their counterparts in the wild, and some have reportedly even committed suicide by choosing to stop breathing or by slamming their heads against the walls of the tank.

Traveling zoos and petting zoos subject animals to the stress of transport, alien environments, irregular feeding and watering, mishandling, and crowds of strangers. Many children and adults have been mauled by tigers, primates, and other animals who are used as props in photo shoots, and countless people have been sickened—some have even died—after contracting diseases from animals in petting zoos.

Roadside zoos and backyard menageries range from small menageries where animals are kept in barren cages constructed of concrete and metal bars to larger collections with animals confined to compounds surrounded by chain-link fencing. At these facilities, animals are often deprived of adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care.

These cruel exhibits can only stay in business because people pay admission to visit them. Please don’t pay to keep animals imprisoned. Learn about animals by watching nature documentaries or by observing them in their own habitats instead.