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Deadly Destinations

“Habitats” made by humans may appeal to visitors who only look at them for a few minutes, but they’re still cages for the animals who are forced to spend their whole lives in them. We buy our cotton candy and move on with our lives; the animals are there to stay. They are housed in cages that don’t come close to the jungles, deserts, savannahs, and forests that are their natural homes. They have no choice in their diets, mates, or living companions. Every aspect of their lives is controlled and manipulated.

A few fleeting moments of distraction for humans mean a lifetime of misery for animals. If you care about animals, avoid animal exhibits like you would avoid poison ivy. Here are a few of the saddest spots for animals:

Barefoot Landing/T.I.G.E.R.S.

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Barefoot Landing allows notorious exhibitor Kevin Antle to shill tiger cubs and a chimpanzee to tourists for photo ops. Antle’s operation, T.I.G.E.R.S., has repeatedly been cited and fined by federal authorities for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide animals with veterinary care and proper shelter and failure to handle dangerous animals safely.

Barefoot Landing also features its “Alligator Adventure,” which offers live animal shows and displays more than 700 alligators, crocodiles, tropical birds, snakes, and other reptiles.

Marineland

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Part theme park, part zoo, this tourist trap displays orcas, beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and walruses in cramped tanks. Visitors are allowed to feed and touch the belugas throughout the day. Far too many whales and dolphins have perished at Marineland: It is estimated that more than 40 whales and dolphins have died there, approximately 25 of them dying in the last 15 years. Marineland has imported beluga whales and dolphins who were ripped from their ocean homes.

Marineland also keeps bears, deer, bison, and elk in cages surrounded by noisy roller coasters and rides.

Sea World

San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; Orlando, Florida

At Sea World, orca whales perform tricks for food; swim endless circles in small, barren concrete tanks; and live far short of the 60-year lifespan that orcas enjoy in the wild. In the wild, these whales live in tight family units, with bonds that may last a lifetime.

In their ocean homes, dolphins swim together in family pods up to 100 miles a day. At SeaWorld, their home is reduced to a virtual bathtub.

Sea World, which owns most of the captive orcas and dolphins in the United States, has one of the worst histories of animal care. At least 35 orcas and over 100 dolphins have died at U.S. Sea World facilities. The aquarium industry worldwide has claimed the lives of at least 150 orcas and 963 dolphins. And until it was exposed to the public, Sea World routinely shot and killed hybrid ducks who flew in and joined Sea World’s resident bird population.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Vallejo, California

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom World can’t even keep its own employees happy, much less its animals! In March 2001, two former Six Flags Discovery Kingdom employees filed a report with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging animal beatings, neglect, suffering, and terror caused by inadequate veterinary care, improper housing, mishandling by untrained and unqualified personnel, and exposure to noise from thrill rides and growing crowds at the park.

Since 1995, eight elephants have died at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.  Elephants are forced to perform tricks and give rides to park visitors. Elephant handlers and visitors to the park have been injured by elephants on three separate occasions. Despite these serious incidents, Discovery Kingdom World continues to use cruel, outdated circus-style training methods, in which elephants are beaten with bullhooks (rods with sharp metal hooks on the ends) if they don’t perform on cue.

Six Flags Wild Safari

Jackson, New Jersey

There are 31 Six Flags parks in North America; Wild Safari is one of two that exhibits elephants (see Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, above). The elephants are kept in a drive-through exhibit, which means that they are subjected to a constant stream of vehicles, exhaust, and unsupervised visitors.

In one three-month period, 26 animals died at Six Flags Wild Safari. The causes of death ranged from neck and skull fractures to hypothermia, tetanus, pneumonia, and drowning. While drive-through wildlife parks give the impression that they’re “sanctuaries,” Six Flags Wild Safari has sold “surplus” baboons to biomedical researchers and exotic hoofed animals to hunting ranches.

Come Home Happy, Not Heartbroken

Vacations should hold only happy memories. Instead of tainting your trip by seeing tortured animals, why not simply hit the beach, take a cruise, or visit a museum? There are loads of eco-tourism companies that offer cruelty-free excursions.

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  • mary ann says:

    I haven’t attended any of these places for years and don’t intend to this year. I cannot stand the cruelty to animals that I have seen since I was 7 yrs. old. Why more people don’t see this is blind ignorance.
    No animal should have to live in these conditions solely for our entertainment . Stop going to these places and boycott them Now.

  • Misty says:

    I think you should add and maybe investigate the Zoo in Rome. Over my recent vacation a week ago my partner and I visted the local zoo in Rome, Italy. what I saw bothered me to the core. I saw two gray seal swimming in dirty water with trash, I saw monkeys living a small space in groups or 30 or more, all the cages and areas I saw were dirty, trash in them and not very well cleaned. I was extremly disappointed and upset. I have been a vegatarian for a year and a half and am making the switch slowly to becoming vegan. I think since I have become more aware of animal crulety my eyes are open. I will not attend a zoo or or amusement park that captures, tortures or neglects animals again. thaank you for all that you do PETA.

  • Rani Kulatilake says:

    I personally don’t think animals should be caged for anything. Animals born in captivity do not act at all the way the wild animals do. So there is no education there at all. Only misery. These animal mothers reject their young too. That’s what happened to Knut the Polar bear who died tragically so young. We haven’t learnt anything about our own kind let alone about animals. All we do is invade other countries and make war that kills millions. a
    Animals are not like humans. They only kill for food because they cannot go to work and earn money to buy food. So it is a joke to say we are learning about animals in the wild by looking at miserable animals in cages. Let’s learn about ourselves first and stop murdering each other. Animals have a code of ethics, we don’t. The best way to conserve the environment and it’s creations is to leave it as we find it without messing around and putting chips and various other things on animals. Recently in Sri Lanka, about 10 birds which are supposed to be sea gulls have fallen from the skies dead. All birds are s supposed to have had a metal ring around their feet. Experiments no doubt! At what cost to poor innocent animals who will manage their lives much better if only man knows to leave well alone.

  • Carol says:

    I disagree with Emi: There are better ways to ensure that species do not die out than putting hem in caages or exhibits. Born in captivity does not mean that the animals are OK with that. They still have the urge to roam as they should in the wild. Make very large natural parks in the places where they are indiginous and fence those, if necessary and patrol them against poachers( what about spending money on educating these people?). Anything else is a sorry state for an anmial to be in. It is not paramount that people actually see live animals to be taught about them. With modern communication methods and interactive models, we can do much better.

  • Iris says:

    I hate zoos. Exactly for the reasons listed above. How awful, how sad…. When I was a girl my parents took me to the zoo, but now I know better. I haven’t gone to see caged animals in years, and will never again in my lifetime.

  • Marlene Ashton says:

    Human Beings can be the most despicable.

  • paul lentz says:

    making money is the object here! Suffering of animals comes a distant 2nd!

  • fallonh says:

    Is anyone doing anything to help Edith the Chimpanzee?

  • Adair Leonard says:

    I believe animals should be allowed to live out their lives in their natural environments and not be put on display and urged to perform tricks for people. This is not what they were created for. We are to be stewards of animals and treat them kindly and not force them to perform for people. Compassion, please!

  • cattaz1@msn.com says:

    I agree that all of the animal exhibits and inhumane and not fair to the animals. They have the right to live as God intended; FREE! If we don’t support the places by purchasing and attending events, then they shall have no option but to free the animals and close their doors, thus putting an end to the tragic deaths and mistreatment of these poor unfortunate animalsl. We need to band together And not help abusers become richer.

  • gohopdrummer says:

    I am thankful for the great multitude of positive results and advocacy efforts by PETA, but I think, as animal lovers, we need to be careful not to vocalize feelings without facts, or at least not without context for our feelings. For example, I have no doubt many zoos and many zoo keeper abuse animals horribly and we MUST end it.

    However, I am thankful for Emi’s response which acknowledges that there are zoos and theme parks where animals are well-treated and we must not lump the well-doers together with the evil doers. Emi mentioned educational value, and I can’t help but think perhaps seeing things live and up close helps us develop understanding and compassion of the animal world and the desire to save it and advocate on its behalf.

    To use a more commonplace example, consider dog ownership. A massive number of dogs are abused in some way or another. That does not mean none of us should have dogs; it means we must stop the abusers. It does not mean we should not socialize or train dogs; it does mean we must train them in a responsible, humane way, and we must care for them with proper food, veterinary care, environment and love.

    Throughout the PETA web site, frequent reference is made to parrots “being forced” to perform tricks on cue. As a parrot owner, I train my parrots to do tricks. Proper training methods make tricks a delight for both them and me. During a training session, they sometimes quiver with excitement in expectation of the next trick, and they will make their own way over to the trick station! They sometimes get jealous when it’s trick time for the other bird. They love tricks! Though the birds are caged, they are in large cages with toys and foraging toys to keep them occupied while I am out. There are so many parrot owners who do the same or better job than me. They have content, well-adjusted happy birds. This is not the case for many parrots, where things like small cage size, lack of toys, proper food and human contact. These situations are abusive. Abuse does not mean we shouldn’t have parrots; it means they must be treated appropriately. The same could be said of cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits–and children.

    What I’m trying to say is, yes, be outraged by abuse and put an end to it. However, keep it in it’s proper context by not combining abusive handlers with responsible ones. I think the real issue is to determine appropriate standards and enforce them properly, as we do in other fields, such as law and medicine. If perfection is the standard, we would have no doctors and lawyers, and all of us would have our children taken away. Perhaps we need not to abolish things but to create and enforce proper standards and then publish adherents and violators so that we can know where to go.

  • Barbara says:

    I stopped visiting animals in zoos and parks ten years ago
    After we went to the Washington DC zoo. The gorilla was
    sitting in the front window of there glass enclosure..he was just
    Staring back at people with no life in his poor broken
    Spirit. Was one of the saddest beings I have ever seen.

  • Fadin Reign says:

    Please don’t give up on your fellow humans! I had no idea before I was married that my husband didn’t know better then to attend Zoos or roadside attractions. Thanks to poor Tony tiger in Grosse Pete, LA, he has been shown the light! Your fellow humans can be trained!

  • elvira myers says:

    At least one could put pressure on the St. Louis zoo.As for those dolphin and whale shows…they are terrible. In Miami we have a place called Seaquarium. I have no idea how they treat their animals there, but I do know that they train their dolphins by withholding food. At least that is what I have heard tell.And the Orca who is being punished by being put in solitary….there too we could exert pressure but on whom? Taking on Disney world would be a difficult task…they are very big and poweful and more involved in in-fighting at the top than in their animals. I hate the whole darned thing and refuse to visit there.

  • Alisha Tampalini says:

    I was very very distressed to read about these places not treating the animals in their care. I hope that after all this has come out these places will fix themselves up

  • donna says:

    I grew up never going to the circus (nowhere around my rural state!) and when I had children, we went to a circus. I just hated it! Felt sorry for the poor animals forced to do tricks. Won’t ever go back to one and don’t think my (now grown) children will either

  • Patricia says:

    …it’s a loose loose situation…these wonderful gifts from the universe can’t live in their own habitat simply because we…humans…are destroying their homes!..Zoos and santuaries are an alternative home…a cruel and contentious choice. Now the people who are supposedly caretakers to these incredible gifts are in violation of their resposibilties!!
    This is sinful…a simple and an unforgivable sin!!
    What will we do when all the precious animals are extinct???

  • Canadian says:

    Wont be taking the kids to any of these places this summer for sure!!
    Might just take the boy to south dakota for a prairie dog expedition.

  • momteachingcompassion says:

    my daughter and i NEVER vacation at zoos, wildlife parks, or aquatic zoos. we also never go to the circus. when her girl scout troop was planning a trip to the circus, she asked what fun and learning was involved in watching animals suffer for our “entertainment”. there is hope for the future. and the troop ended up not going to the circus, after a number of the other girls (and a few parents) decided that their time could be better spent. my daughter also carries plant based lunches and is happy to explain that eating a pig is the same thing as eating your puppy! we take delicious vegan foods to potlucks and school treat days. so take heart peta, you are reaching another generation. my daughter is in junior high and has been standing up for animal rights since she was little.

  • mexys says:

    Any establishment that makes a profit out of exploiting animals for our “entertainment” is a disgrace. I no longer attend Sea World, zoos, animal parks, etc. I’ve learned the truth and will not give my money to business that insist that their animals “enjoy” and “love” to perform numerous times a day for months and years on end. I don’t believe their BS!

  • Xytoxha says:

    1. The Toronto zoo
    2. African Lion Safari
    3. Marine Land

  • Michael says:

    Please comment on The Virginia Zoo here in Norfolk – headquarters of PETA.

  • Anon says:

    The best place to visit animals is in the wild. I plan to visit polar bears in Alaska, the meerkats in Africa and whales in the Galapagos.

  • colleen gilbee says:

    It’s unfair and unkind to visit or support animals being forced into confinement, to live unnatural lives in cages and devoid of contact with other members of their own species. Please……do complain to the people at zoos about things such as them allowing baboons or other animals to be sold to then brutalized and tortured inside of research labs and educate people about the fact that there are no benefits to the animals or to humans by allowing the animals to be kept confined in cages and are forced to hinder conservation efforts of these animals they should be protecting, instead of exploiting. Please help educate the public, including zoos that it’s unkind and morally irresponsible to allow the animals to be kept in cages where they aren’t able to enjoy the freedom of being able to run and play and go where they want when they want. Instead, animals are unfairly imprisoned by human beings who aren’t so humane in their treatment of these animals who they are supposed to respect. Please don’t eat seafood anymore if you’re a vegetarian and go vegan in your diet. Please don’t eat meat, don’t buy products tested on animals and don’t wear fur or leather or buy products made with down. Please supervise your dog if he or she is outside to protect him or her from bunchers who don’t care if they steal your dog and then resell him to a class b animal dealer who will sell him or her to a research lab where your beloved dog will be brutalized, abused, tortured and killed by vivisectors and those who believe that might makes right and that humans are superior to animals and despite the fact that we are not superior, because that is specisim…to believe we’re better than they are just because we are human beings….we are the ones torturing them. The animals….consider this: They don’t build facilities that they can torture and abuse us in. So we shouldn’t be doing that to them. PERIOD. Please go vegan, buy cruelty free, don’t buy or wear fur or animal skins and don’t support zoos, health charities, rodeos, horse or dog races, or circuses. Animals ARE NOT ours…..to: * Eat * Wear * Experiment on

  • Pamela. says:

    Human beings are the most barbaric monsters on this planet. You’ll find a video at the right side of this link http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2011/s3228880.htm which shows how we ‘humanely’ kill animals for our thoughtless meat addiction. A warning to the sensitive, it is horrific. We are pushing for a ban on live export to Indonesia. However that is not the only country that treats animals this way. Barbarians.

  • JMOThanks says:

    I have a few other places that people go to and they are worst then these zoos…
    Jungle Island-birds, chimps and other animals used for entertainment purposes. The chimp there acts like she is nervous…

    Universal Studios-both in Califorina and Florida. My sister-in-law saw the show in L.A and told me she wanted to cry because, the baby orangutan looked so sad.

    I will be boycotting too. Thanks

    Those are 2 I know of…

  • Olivia says:

    Aw! I thought that zoo’s will treat there animals much better than that. :( I won’t be attending these places.

  • NRG says:

    Abuse to captive animals is only the tip of the iceberg-each year millions upon millions of animals,fowl,fish are slaughtered to satisfy the tongues of ignorant people. There is sufficient food grains to feed the planet, but our resources are wasted with grain and water for livestock. Look at the big picture to see how Karma works-all these worldwide natural disasters are no accident!

  • stephc23 says:

    I would also discourage animal lovers from visiting any petting zoo. The animal/human contact is often poorly monitored and children (and adults) can inadvertantly create a lot of stress for the animals. Also, I’ve seen some miserable conditions with hot weather and lack of clean drinking water.

  • Anna says:

    pls stop the cruel to animals!!!

  • CH says:

    Avoid Greece. I was planning a trip there last summer but after doing some research I discovered that as a population they treat animals horribly. I read multiple accounts from travelers of sights of animal distress and abuse ruining their vacations. And this was on travel sites like Trip Advisor!

  • gloria monti says:

    for emi, the zookeeper. in 1930s and 1940s germany people with your job were called kapos: they would oversee the daily “activities” of concentration camps. as isaac b. singer has eloquently stated, for animals it is an eternal treblinka.

  • MARIA SONIA ESTRADA-SOLERO says:

    El ser humano es el animal mas cruel

  • Janine says:

    I think following recent activites that Romania as a whole needs to be avoided! Stray dogs are on the streets and there is that risk of seeing the evil dog nabbers torture abuse and even kill the dogs. Who wants to be a witness to that?

  • Paula Moore says:

    I live up here in Wyoming and I have to say I would rather visit a zoo than have to watch animals mistreated at a Rodeo. In 2009 I took my daughter and youngest son and my 2 sister n laws to our local rodeo. I was shocked at what we saw. It was during the saddle bronc riding and the horse and rider came out of the shute and the horse went straight up and came back down landing on his honches which caused him to impact his spine and broke it. The announcer tried to play it off but I knew it was broke just from watching the poor horse trying to stand. He kept pawing with his front hooves and his back end was just stationary, it was horrible. They ended up dragging him off and putting him down. I have not been back to another nor will I ever.

  • steph says:

    A couple of years ago I went to Sea World in San Diego thinking it would be nice to get a close look at these beautiful animals. I actually got depressed seeing how these poor creatures are confined to live in such mall places and seeing the orca swimming in a pool like a lonely fish in a bowl. Very sad. :(

  • Jack's Mom says:

    These people do not share our love of animals. They are only a means to a financial end. They are disgusting.

  • Jeannie Lunn says:

    I definitely will not be attending or supporting these places. I think you should add the Calgary Stampede too!

  • chiara says:

    Don’go go to these places anymore!

  • Jean Wyenberg says:

    Emi
    Sanctuaries yes, most zoos .. no. Nice as it is to gain an education about a species…would we lock up and observe a “specimen” from say, a new tribe found in the deepest rainforest somewhere so that we could “educate” ourselves with the aim of preserving them? No. But still we consider it ok to do this with animals. We know enough now about how to protect animals…preserve their natural environment and keep people away..easy. Sanctuaries (good ones) are picking up the pieces left behind by zoos (most but not all) and circuses and other abusers and this sadly will remain a necessity for a long time to come. No matter how well a zoo treats its specimen animals and I realize that some are very dedicated and thorough…those animals are still prisoners for our benefit.

  • Barbara Lenarcic says:

    Animals have just as much right to be treated well as humans have. They are not for our domination. We need to live with them in justice, care and concern. They are a gift to us.

  • Elsa Hernandez says:

    Good morning, I think you would fail including some of the worst places where animals are treated. LORO PARQUE called, and it’s located in Tenerife Spain, where Alexis Hernández Martínez, a young trainer was killed by Keto, another orca used in the “orca stadium” to treat whales as clowns, and risk human lives. This happenned on December 24, 2009, and by political reasons has not trascended as it also happened with the ill-fated Dawn Broncheau, trairner of the SEA WORLD. I also would like that Loro Parque could be investigate, because these animals die much earlier in captivity, have dental infections and tooth loss and other symptoms that alter the behavior of orcas and causing deaths of human lives.

  • yasmin says:

    I dont blame that orca “telicon” (i think his name is)at seaword for killing three people since 1991, His fin is flopped and he is so unhappy. This orca was taken from his colony in antartica 25 years ago. They now have him in isolation after killing seaworlds “Best Trainer”.
    This poor orca will now be in isolation until he dies a sad lonely death.
    I say let him go free and if he doesnt survive as he has been in captivity since they took him from his mum 25 years ago, then so be it, at least he will have a tatse of freedom and im sure he would rather die trying than die at “Sea World”…
    If you go and watch an orcqa show at seaworld you should be ashamed of your self. How would any of us like it if someone took our son or daughter away and locked them in a three foot by three foot room for 30 years. IT IS INHUMANE. USA find another industry to earn you the billions these poor Orcas do. GO ORCAS LET THEM have it. I hope one day all orcas telecommunicate together all over the usa and fight back.
    GOD help the trainers then!!!!!!!!!!

  • please don't support or attend zoos or circuses says:

    It’s unfair and unkind to visit or support animals being forced into confinement, to live unnatural lives in cages and devoid of contact with other members of their own species. Please……do complain to the people at zoos about things such as them allowing baboons or other animals to be sold to then brutalized and tortured inside of research labs and educate people about the fact that there are no benefits to the animals or to humans by allowing the animals to be kept confined in cages and are forced to hinder conservation efforts of these animals they should be protecting, instead of exploiting.

    Please help educate the public, including zoos that it’s unkind and morally irresponsible to allow the animals to be kept in cages where they aren’t able to enjoy the freedom of being able to run and play and go where they want when they want. Instead, animals are unfairly imprisoned by human beings who aren’t so humane in their treatment of these animals who they are supposed to respect.

    Please don’t eat seafood anymore if you’re a vegetarian and go vegan in your diet. Please don’t eat meat, don’t buy products tested on animals and don’t wear fur or leather or buy products made with down. Please supervise your dog if he or she is outside to protect him or her from bunchers who don’t care if they steal your dog and then resell him to a class b animal dealer who will sell him or her to a research lab where your beloved dog will be brutalized, abused, tortured and killed by vivisectors and those who believe that might makes right and that humans are superior to animals and despite the fact that we are not superior, because that is specisim…to believe we’re better than they are just because we are human beings….we are the ones torturing them. The animals….consider this: They don’t build facilities that they can torture and abuse us in. So we shouldn’t be doing that to them.
    PERIOD.

    Please go vegan, buy cruelty free, don’t buy or wear fur or animal skins and don’t support zoos, health charities, rodeos, horse or dog races, or circuses.

    Animals ARE NOT ours…..to:

    * Eat
    * Wear
    * Experiment on

  • cheap designer bags says:

    They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Emi says:

    Although the instances cited in this article are completely unacceptable, I hope that you do not think that all zoological facilities promote animal suffering. As a zookeeper and wildlife educator myself, I have witnessed first hand the exciting and positive effects of using animals(which have been born into captivity) in keeper talks and animal demonstrations. I agree that it is much better for people to experiecnce animals in their natural habitats, but sometimes that is just not possible. Zoos and wildlife parks illuminate the abundance of biodiversity and can inspire conservation at any age. Education through experience is extremely effective and I personally believe the best way to conserve the animals remaining in the wild. How these animals are obtained and cared for is the responsibility of the facility itself and all of us should strive to ensure the right people are put in charge, not to end zoos altogether. I sincerely hope that articles like this do not discourage you from supporting all zoos and sanctuaries.

  • pg says:

    It sickens me to know that the theme parks that I have visited are doing this the animals that live there. I thought that these animals were taken care of not being neglected and brutally mistreated. I hope this information gets to more people so that they also will not visit these “happiest places on earth”

  • Kanona says:

    The mere fact that people go there knowing what conspires juwst blows my mind. Some people have no compassion for animals. They want what they want and the heck with how the animals are suffering yet they are the very ones complaining when bad things happen to them.Karma is a b–ch. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • MyssRisa says:

    I definitely won’t be attending these places!

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