Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The End of Circuses. The End of Zoos?

    The End of Circuses, The End of Zoos?

 I also find it incredibly depressing how many people within zoo industry (some who regularly contribute to the various forums on social media) seem to be completely in denial about what is going on.

The Scottish Parliament is proposing a ban on wild animals in circuses.  The interesting thing about the proposed Scottish ban is that they wish to undertake this on ethical grounds, not as an issue of animal welfare.   

The British government adopted a similar position because they clearly stated that there were no grounds to ban animals in circuses on welfare grounds because it was not supported by the available scientific evidence.  Nevertheless, the British government propose ban has not taken place and decided to introduce regulation and inspection to ensure the welfare of circus animals in December 2014.  Moreover, it seems that the Welsh assembly is also going to adopt a regulation and inspection process rather than an original plan to ban wild animals in circuses. 

As part of the consultation process, the Scottish government’s environment committee took evidence from various stakeholders who would be affected by this proposed ban.  In a session on 6 June, 2017 Martin Burton of the Association of Circus Proprietors was reported by the BBC as to have told MSPs that a law based on the proposed ethical grounds "will eventually close your zoos". 

In various zoo keeping forums on social media, this has been met with derision and a number of people are suggesting this is scaremongering.  I for one do not share that view. 

As a zoo professional, I have watched the growth of the animal-rights industry over 45 years and its attacks on wild animals in captivity is both in circuses, zoos and aquariums.  Those who think that once these groups and factions have finished closing down the circuses and the marine parks that they will not set their sights on closing down zoos and aquariums are being incredibly naive and this is already happening.  We have already seen a politically motivated ban on the breeding and acquisition of killer whales in California and the breeding ban on all cetaceans in France and Mexico.  This legislation effectively prohibits the keeping of cetaceans once this generation of animals dies in those countries. 

If you want further proof of this trend then we only have to look back to the tragic events that took place in Cambridgeshire in May with the death of zookeeper by a tiger. 

If you review the press you will see the vast majority are publishing anti-zoo rhetoric that appears to be getting support from members of the public.  Whilst this might be misguided, please be under no illusion that this will have some kind of political impact further down the line. 

Newspapers such as The Guardian have regularly printed stories against zoos and aquariums for quite a number of years and actually seen quite keen to promote the latest press releases from organisations such as PETA.  Some might say this might be a trait of the liberal media but I have also seen similar press coverage in right-wing newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph and of course The Daily Mail.

Further, if you look at journals that used to be considered as having some integrity in reporting objective and factual-based news copy (such as The National Geographic and Scientific American) they have also fallen foul of the animal-rights industry.  This is been going on for some time and in 2014 I blogged about another article published in Scientific American.

See: Not So Scientific American

I am sorry to say I am very concerned and depressed about what the future holds for zoos and aquariums.  I also find it incredibly depressing how many people within zoo industry (some who regularly contribute to the various forums on social media) seem to be completely in denial about what is going on.  The animal-rights industry uses subterfuge and stealth to enter societies psyche and promote their political ideology.  We should never underestimate their ability to influence politicians and society in general.  It is already happening.  Again, I blogged about this some time ago pointing out the complete denial that many zookeepers have now adopted regarding the influence of the animal-rights industry on their profession.

See: Blackfish's Mission Creep: Are some zookeepers turkeys wishing for Christmas?

Those who think what has been stated is scaremongering probably have not been reviewing what is being proposed by the various animal-rights groups in Scotland.  Putting aside the issue of circuses, these groups are aggressively promoting the idea of a positive list for companion animals and pets.  What this means is that there will be a prescribed list of animals that people can keep with all others banned. 

See: Plans to ban pet keeping move one step nearer?

This is also being promoted by various animal-rights groups who are lobbying the European Parliament.  Moreover, these groups are also proposing a radical rewriting of the European Zoo Directive and other legislation via an integrated lobby group of animal-rights organisations called EndCap. 

So please feel free to ridicule people such Zippos circus owner Martin Burton (who incidentally does not display wild animals in his circus).  Perhaps we will have this conversation a couple of years time and see what has happened.  Never be under the illusion that the public can be duped and misled after all we now have Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Further Background:

Scottish ban on wild animals in circuses. Is it really ethical?