Animals are not actors

Kayla Jackson Photo credit: Kayla Jackson

There has been a huge financial loss at zoos in Canada and around the world due to COVID-19, according to Canadian Geographic.

A lot of zoos rely on the revenue of their guests to be able to take care of the animals but with COVID-19 shutting down so many businesses there have been huge issues with finances.

The Toronto Zoo is a huge business that can address, and hopefully overcome, financial loss but a lot of smaller zoos won’t be able to do so, leading to the animals not being taken care of properly.

In 2019, World Animal Protection circulated a petition to stop elephant rides at the African Lion Safari in Canada. As of July of this year, the African Lion Safari says they have stopped all elephant rides.

Unfortunately, not all zoos and marine parks have stopped using animals as entertainment. At Marine Land in Canada, there are things called touch tanks, and petter pools which invade these animals’ already sad lives and cause stress and mental pain.

These touch tanks or even just letting a visitor touch the animals creates a risk of exposing the animals to foreign bacteria. According to Peta, having foreign bacteria encounter the animals can cause them to become anxious, frustrated and aggressive which can cause them to lash out with no fault of their own.

Animals such as elephants, bears, apes, and whales are forced to perform tasks and shows they were never born to do: it’s not in their nature. There has been a huge increase in animal deaths because of the animal entertainment industry.

There are many petitions to sign through World Animal Protection to help get the word out to help these animals.

Animals are not meant to be for show, they are not actors.

Animal entertainment should be banned.

In 2019, according to the World Animal Protection, an animal welfare non-profit organization, new laws came out in Canada regarding animal safety and well-being. These laws give the government the ability to empower others to act when an animal is at imminent risk of serious injury or death, such as leaving pets in a hot car. The laws established a multi-disciplinary advisory table made up of a wide range of experts to provide ongoing advice to the ministry to improve animal welfare.

These laws are not enough.

Animal entertainment would fall under the animal welfare law. The government needs to enforce wildlife licensing to put an end to roadside zoos as they are often petting zoos.

Peta says entertainment trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, and painful tools to try and train these animals into doing tricks to put on a show for hundreds of people. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums over 200 million people worldwide visit each year. In marine parks, the animals often are treated the same, being put into small tanks leaving them swimming in circles all day, pulled away from their families, and left with nothing.

From 1969 to 2019, African Lion Safari held elephant rides as a form of entertainment. Studies show elephant rides are one of the cruelest tourist activities as the elephants endure a lot of physical and mental suffering. Elephants at African Lion Safari were trained to fear humans and listen to commands so tourists are able to ride them. Trainers use a bull hook to cause pain and pressure on the elephants for them to learn commands.

Animal entertainment needs to be banned and it starts with the people.

Start now.

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