Animals are not toys: why are petting zoos dangerous?

Ticket to the petting zoo

“Contact zoos are a place of rapprochement with nature, where you can not only look at animals, but also feed, and most importantly, touch and pick up the inhabitant you like. Close contact with animals will instill in people a love for them. Communication with the fauna plays a favorable role in the development of children, satisfies aesthetic needs and performs an educational function.

Similar information is posted on the websites of many contact zoos. Unconditional benefit for you and me, isn’t it? But why do “touching” zoos provoke protest among animal rights activists and is it really possible to instill a love for fauna in visiting these places? Let’s figure it out in order.

Welcome backstage

In petting zoos, animals from different parts of our planet are collected. In nature, the conditions of their habitat are very different in terms of temperature, humidity and many other parameters, so the captivity of each species has its own characteristics that can never be observed in contact zoos.

If you’ve ever been to such zoos, then try to remember what the room looks like: a concrete floor and tiny enclosures without shelters. But shelters are extremely necessary for many species: animals could hide in them or stock up on food. The lack of privacy leads pets to endless stress and quick death.

Also, you will almost never see water bowls in the pens. The bowls are cleaned to keep them clean all day long because patrons might accidentally knock them over and the animals will often defecate.

The employees of pet zoos try to clean the cages thoroughly so that the unpleasant smell does not scare away visitors. However, for animals, specific smells are a natural environment. With the help of marks, they designate their territory and communicate with relatives. The absence of odors disorientates the animals and causes anxiety.

In addition, in such menageries there are practically no adult animals and large individuals. Almost all the inhabitants are small species of rodents or cubs, torn from their mother and experiencing great stress.

Remember the squirrel rushing around the cage, the bear cub aimlessly wandering around the corral, the loudly screaming parrot and the raccoon constantly gnawing the bars. This behavior is called “zoochosis”. Simply put, animals go crazy due to instinctual suppression, boredom, boredom and deep stress.

On the other hand, you can often meet apathetic and tired animals that huddle together, looking for protection and comfort.

Aggression and attacks on visitors are also common in petting zoos – this is how frightened animals try to protect themselves.

Every day, from the opening of the zoo until the end of the working day, animals are squeezed, picked up, squeezed, strangled, dropped, chased around the enclosure, blinded by camera flashes and constantly wake up those who lead a nocturnal lifestyle.

Petting zoos do not provide infirmaries for sick animals, so the tortured and exhausted are given to predators for food and replaced with new ones.

Children don’t belong here

Animal welfare regulations require vaccinations in accordance with the vaccination schedule, and any petting zoo must have a full-time veterinarian. However, these requirements are often not met because they require money. Therefore, those who have been bitten by animals in private zoo corners must be prescribed a course of injections for rabies.

It is not safe for children to be hit and bitten by animals. The ostrich’s beak is very massive, the movements are sharp, if you come close to the cage, you can be left without an eye.

Almost never you will be met by a specialist with instructions, they will not give you shoe covers and will not ask you to wash your hands, and this is also provided for by the rules for keeping animals. Through contact with animals, pathogens are transmitted. Animals can pick up an infection from the street, get sick themselves and infect visitors.

How to replace the need to communicate with animals

If you want to be close to nature, petting zoos are not the best place. For acquaintance to be useful, it is not enough just to look at the animal or stroke it. You need to observe the habits and behavior in the natural environment, listen to what sounds it makes, see where it lives and what it eats. For this, there are forest park zones where you can meet tame squirrels and birds. Also, you can always visit nature reserves and shelters where animals rescued from slaughter and cruelty live. Here you can see entire families of raccoons, herds of donkeys and horses, broods of ducklings and the friendship of large predators with pets. These animals can no longer return to their natural environment, because they were born in captivity and suffered at the hands of man, but all conditions have been created for them in the reserves to live in safety: a huge open-air area, rich in vegetation and natural landscape.

Many scientific and educational centers invite everyone to visit interactive zoos where you can see animals in their natural habitat thanks to satellite communications. The whole world is moving away from the zoo format, in which animals from different climatic zones are brought together in one place in order to satisfy the curiosity of visitors.

To get closer to nature, take your child to the forest. And you can directly communicate with animals in the village or in shelters where you will be allowed to take your pet for a walk.

As you can see, petting zoos do not perform any educational or aesthetic functions. This is a business, hiding behind good goals, and the goals themselves are selfish by definition, since the important needs of the inhabitants are not taken into account. And such an acquaintance with animals will teach children only a consumer attitude towards nature – pets in petting zoos are nothing more than toys for them.

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