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There is nothing wrong with asking roadside zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries to do better

Bears in an enclosure at Animal Haven Zoo, Weyauwega, WI, 2019.

We have seen roadside zoo and pseudo-sanctuary owners delete and ban comments that question their animal care practices. We have seen former roadside zoo employees harassed into silence for speaking out about the things they have witnessed. We have seen these facilities threaten lawsuits against people for sharing true information.

It is important to pay attention to how roadside zoos and pseudo-sanctuaries respond to the questions and concerns that are raised. Do they look at the evidence and change their practices? Do they go on the defense and say, “stop attacking me”?

Pointing out practices that harm or endanger animals is not attacking.

We understand that it may be difficult to admit that some of the animal care practices that these facilities utilize may actually harm animals. Some of these animal care practices may cause distress and lifelong physical and psychological damage. But pointing this out is not attacking.

When we point out how certain practices cause suffering for exotic animals, the ethical response by these facilities should be to accept the information and then work to do better going forward.

Anyone who owns an animal should be willing to change their animal care practices when they learn new information. It is ok to be wrong if you don’t know any better; but it is not ok to continue being wrong due to pride or greed.

Change is difficult but the only way we can grow is to learn from our mistakes and do better. Until these facilities decide to make changes, the animals have no voice and we will continue to be their voice and speak out for what is right.


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