All animals want to be wild and free. They do not choose to live a life in a mobile zoo!

Here are our top 5 facts about mobile zoos that everyone should know:

1. Housing

Animals in mobile zoos cannot have their basic needs met and often live lives of deprivation. They are regularly being moved from their cages where they are kept overnight to smaller cages that they are taken to events in. This happens day after day. Even in overnight enclosures they will live very unnatural lives. Animals will then be put in temporary carriers for transportation like a generic storage box, with holes drilled into the sides to provide very poor ventilation. Or they are transported in a dog crate or a cat carrier and have to spend hours in restricted.

At these events boxes can often be seen sat on top of other boxes, all piled up on top of each other. How can any animal live a fulfilling life like that?

Animals in the wild will often roam miles every day. Looking for food, making nests, finding a mate, all the everyday behaviours that any wild animal will carry out. Meerkats in the wild live in large social groups, in a mobile zoo they are often solitary in a tiny cage with nowhere to hide or escape the crowds and noise of an event. Lizards and snakes often need very complex housing to rectify the fact they are in totally the wrong climate and environment. How can the needs of these animals be met when moving from cage to cage all the time? 

2. Transportation

When used for events, animals in mobile zoos are made to endure many hours a day being transported in small boxes.

This is such an unnatural lifestyle that animals are forced to live. 

There is no quality of life, no connections to their natural habitats and environments. This is so similar to life for a wild animal in a circus, but the difference is, wild animal circuses have been banned across Britian. It is well recognised by the British public that animal circuses are not acceptable, so why not mobile zoos too?

3. Handling

Wild animals don’t even like to be near humans, never mind being handled, touched or stroked. Even if an animal has been trained to do this, as many mobile zoo ‘owners’ will claim, wild animals will never be comfortable in this situation. 

Who is making sure that the animals are safe, and that the public are safe? Other concerns for such events are the risk of spreading zoonotic diseases.

Mobile zoos have been directly linked to several zoonotic outbreaks, including infections such as E. coli and salmonella  

There is also the risk of injury to either the animals or children. We have witnessed many events where animals are passed around like a game of pass the parcel with no regard for the stress to the animals involved. Bites, kicks, scratches, and other types of injuries can also occur. 

And what are we really teaching children about animals by doing this? We aren’t teaching children about the lovely habitat that animals really live in, we are teaching them that it is ok to treat animals as objects, not living beings.

4. Conservation

Static zoos make weak claims about conservation as one of their justifications for existing. Mobile zoos can not even make such claims, as there is no way their work can benefit conservation.

Animals in mobile zoos can also inadvertently encourage people to take on animals as ‘pets’ that they know nothing about. Animals that often need intense care and equipment.

And where do these animals come from? The exploitative global wildlife trade is notorious for taking animals from the wild to fuel a market that is ever growing. This is having a major impact on species of conservation concerns and in turn the environment that they live in. There should also be consideration for the impact that illegal and accidental releases from such places could have on the local native wildlife. It has been reported many times that animals have escaped from such places, either at events or at the home of the mobile zoo. 

5. Lastly and most importantly, animals suffer in mobile zoos!

As if the above isn’t enough. Animals do suffer in mobile zoos. 

We have had many reports of incidents from members of the public who have witnessed animals in distress at mobile zoos events. This ranges from a lizard being passed around a large group, to a hedgehog who is placed in a ring in front of nearly fifty children to show how they walk, just like an animal in a circus. Owls who have been passed around and made to stand on peoples hands, while being stroked. 

One report that stands out the most was from a whistleblower who got in touch to report a serious case of neglect at a mobile zoo named Tropical Inc. Animals were being kept in horrendous conditions.

One of the animals, a Meerkat named Sasha, was forced to sit in her own faeces, her cramped home was just one of many cages stacked on top and around her. All of them held animals captive - some sick and injured - in a dark, cold room. Travelling around the country she would be taken to events to see children and adults, who would handle her, take photos with her and who had no idea of the horror she faced back in her cage.

We were able to take action and the premises of this company were raided by the RSPCA and the police. The animals were taken to safety and the owner was eventually convicted of 34 offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

This is just one incident. How many more are there? 

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