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COMMAND PERFORMANCE: New report examines the cruel exploitation of wild animal ‘exhibitions’ in the UK

Almost 20,000 wild animals are kept for exhibition or performance in the UK, including 597 reindeer. In England, the numbers include 12 zebra, 10 lions, 10 tigers, 10 wolves, six leopards, two ligers, two giraffe, and two pygmy hippopotamuses.

BORN FREE FOUNDATION: Born Free published a first of its kind report examining the shocking, dark side of human animal relationships in the form of exploitation for entertainment, and the resulting life of compromised welfare these wild animals face. We’re calling on the government to prohibit the practise and for the public and event organisers to pledge their support by boycotting events or facilities which promote this type of entertainment.

Current legislation is failing to protect these non-domesticated animals which evolved in complex wild environments, making them unsuited to life in captivity. Their many captivity-associated health and welfare problems are well-evidenced, and they face further welfare compromise when used in exhibition or performance settings.

Often kept in unsuitable environments, akin to travelling circuses, they are frequently exposed to unfamiliar and unnatural situations, handled by unfamiliar and untrained members of the public, subjected to welfare-compromising husbandry practices to make them more amenable to exhibition and, for nocturnal (active at night) and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) animals, required to perform at times of the day when they would naturally be resting…

Almost 20,000 wild animals were included on licences and registers to keep or train for exhibition or performance in England, Scotland and Wales in recent years, including 597 reindeer. In England, the numbers include 12 zebra, 10 lions, 10 tigers, 10 wolves, six leopards, two ligers, two giraffe, and two pygmy hippopotamuses, kept by four operators…

Will Travers OBE, Exec President and Co-Founder of Born Free stated “The use of wild animals for exhibition or performance should provoke the same critical response as the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, rightly banned in Great Britain after decades of sustained pressure and effective campaigning by Born Free and others.

However, children and adults, across the nation, continue to be encouraged to attend and participate in activities that exploit wild animals, including many hundreds of reindeer in the run up to Christmas. And whilst we have moved on from performing chimpanzees advertising tea in the 1980s, captive wild animals are still in regular use in advertising, TV and film. We must unite against the outdated and immoral practice…

Born Free is calling on the UK government, Scottish Parliament, and Welsh Parliament to introduce a prohibition on the use of wild animals for exhibition or performance. The low-welfare practice of keeping and training wild animals for these purposes, has serious negative impacts on the lives of many thousands of wild animals, and should have no place in modern society. SOURCE…

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