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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Keep Wildlife Wild — Day One

Published 06/01/09
By Zibby Wilder, Director of Public Relations

Today for Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week, we’ve focused on captive exotic animals — specifically those used in circuses and zoos. We have a great list of things you can do to help these animals, as well as ideas for how you can explain the issues to others. Be sure to check it out!

One of the most common questions people ask me when it comes to zoos is, “But don’t you think animals in zoos are so very important because they educate children?” And my response is always “No.” Seriously, any child will learn more about an animal watching Animal Planet than by gawking for a few minutes at one in a cage. If you have a friend who just doesn’t believe you, set their kids down in front of the TV and show them this — then give them a little quiz after. I guarantee they will know a heck of a lot more about elephants than they ever would know from reading a little plaque at a zoo.

I never get this same question about circuses because trying to claim the circus is educational is just plain ridiculous, and people seem to know this. What I do get is, “Why would they treat their animals bad if they are so popular?” The answer to this is simply — you HAVE to treat them bad. There is no humane way to train a large, dangerous wild animal — dominance and fear are what they respond to. There is also no humane way to cart an elephant or tiger around the country. I suppose if someday we start being able to “beam” ourselves around, like on Star Trek, it might be a different matter. I also suppose by the time that happens, there won’t be circuses anymore.

Happy day 1 of Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week to you!


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