British Zoo Plans New Elephant Exhibit


It seems like zoo owners just don't get it.

The BBC is reporting that Noah's Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol is planning to build a new enclosure to house elephants on its grounds, a move that has been widely criticized by many animal advocacy groups.

On top of the fact that there has been a steady trend toward closing elephant exhibits over the past two decades, this announcement comes on the heels of an elephant attacking a trainer at a zoo in Ohio and another elephant dying mysteriously at a zoo in Massachusetts.

A spokesman for the zoo assures the public of the familiar promises we're used to hearing from the animal-entertainment industry: that the animals will be well cared for, will benefit from large modern enclosures, etc.

Not only are these promises always hollow mockeries when they come from people who profit from animal captivity and entertainment, but according to the article, this zoo has already been expelled from the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums as a result of a questionable relationship with a circus. As if a zoo isn't bad enough, this is a zoo with ties to a circus. It's almost like the twin enemies of elephants everywhere have joined forces.

The list of groups that have spoken out against the proposed new elephant exhibit include RSPCA, the Born Free Foundation, the Captive Animal Protection Society, and the Animal Defenders.

Truthfully, the criticism of these groups is unlikely to make a difference to the Noah's Ark Zoo. These people are only ever interested in what is going to make them money. And, unfortunately, a new elephant exhibit will do just that.

But the next time you're thinking of visiting a zoo, consider whether it makes any sense to have an animal accustomed to the climes of Asia and Africa, in zoos in Europe and North America. Ask yourself if an animal the size of an elephant, with the social structure of an elephant, can ever be healthy and happy in a small enclosure with few, if any at all, companions. Ask yourself if an animal as intelligent and sensitive as an elephant, doesn't understand that she is in captivity. And when you realize that elephants have no place in zoos, then ask yourself if any animal belongs in a zoo.

I think you'll find the answer is pretty obvious.

From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann