Roadside Zoo Under Fire for Plan to Send Giraffe to Facility Tied to Canned Hunts

PETA Urges Brights Zoo to Nix Perilous Plan, Stop Treating Highly Sensitive Animals Like Pawns

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Greeneville, Tenn. – A young giraffe named Alf at Brights Zoo is set to go to a facility in Texas that has ties to exotic-animal hunting ranches—otherwise known as “canned hunts”—so PETA sent a letter this morning calling on the roadside zoo to end its giraffe-breeding program and to ensure that no giraffe in its custody endures a highly stressful and perilous move, such as the one planned for Alf. The facility wants to move the young giraffe now because giraffes become increasingly hard to handle as they get older—and taller. The move will make room for displaying more baby animals, which are seen as a magnet for visitors, in the future.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that captive giraffes exhibit an extremely high rate of neurotic, stereotypic behavior and that transporting them is so physically dangerous and psychologically distressing that it should be done only when absolutely necessary for their health and well-being.

“Giraffes are fragile, sensitive animals who suffer enormously in captivity and during transport,” says PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on Brights Zoo to stop bringing more anxious, traumatized giraffes into the world to be put on display or farmed out to facilities with dubious dealings.”

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PETA’s letter to Brights Zoo owner David Bright follows.

October 5, 2017

David Bright, Owner

Brights Zoo

Dear Mr. Bright,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide regarding reports that Alf the giraffe is slated to be moved to WildLife Partners in Texas, a facility with ties to exotic-animal hunting ranches—i.e., canned hunt facilities. I urge you to halt all giraffe breeding and to ensure that no giraffe has to endure this type of dangerous, traumatic move.

Giraffes are highly sensitive animals who suffer uniquely in captivity. Highly social animals, bonded giraffes exhibit behavioral and psychological indications of stress similar to those expressed by primates, elephants, and other highly social and far-ranging wild animals when separated. Yet captive giraffes like Alf are frequently torn away from their mothers and shipped to other facilities, often to be bred to continue the cycle. Captive giraffes also exhibit an extremely high rate of neurotic, stereotypic behavior resulting from captivity-related stress, boredom, or deprivation.

Loading and transporting these animals is so physically dangerous and psychologically distressing that it should never be done unless absolutely necessary for their health and well-being. In one case, a giraffe being transferred from a zoo to a Texas animal dealer (not unlike WildLife Partners) sustained neck and spinal-cord injuries during the transfer and had to be euthanized. Another giraffe transported by this dealer died two weeks after a move, apparently from an injury that occurred during unloading. Captive giraffes are also prone to flight in stressful situations, making them susceptible to fatal injuries, and dozens of captive giraffes have died in the U.S. in recent years.

I hope you agree that no giraffe should be subjected to a life of suffering, stress, and deprivation and will reach a decision to end breeding and stop transferring these intelligent and sensitive animals. With the closure of Ringling Bros. circus, the end of SeaWorld’s orca-breeding program, and the National Aquarium’s announcement of its plans to build the first-ever seaside dolphin sanctuary, it’s never been clearer that the public doesn’t support the use of animals for entertainment.

May I please hear that you’ll end all giraffe breeding moving forward? Our members are eager for an update. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Delcianna Winders, Esq.

Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

Captive Animal Law Enforcement

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind