By Sam Threadgill, Director

At Freedom for Animals, we believe that owls (and all animals!) should be free from captivity. Here's a few reasons why...

In Captivity:

- Our investigation found over a third of aviaries in bird of prey zoos did not meet the recommended size of allowing three wingspans of a bird. Some birds lived in such cramped conditions they could not even stretch out their wings.

- Owls and other birds often have nowhere to hide from people. Nearly half of all aviaries in bird of prey zoos were not equipped with a refuge area and non of the tethered birds on tethering lawns were given any provision for escape, as all were tied down in full view of the public.

- In captivity, owls are often handled and stroked by members of the public. This can be highly stressful for the bird and also cause damage of the waterproofing of feathers. Staff at one centre even admitted that a seven week old Eurasian eagle owl who was clearly stressed at being petted by around 20 children, "doesn't like running children and has freaked out before."

- Many owls are 'imprinted' onto humans so that they believe they are the same species as us, causing them to see some humans as potential mates. This process also means that they are unable to recognise other members of their species.

In the Wild:

- Owls have relatively large home ranges compared to most species. For example, in the winter, barn owls' home ranges can be up to 12,000 acres (that's over 7,000 football pitches!). In summer, due to an abundance of food, their home ranges shrink to around 860 acres.

- In the wild, owls choose nests and roosts that are often hidden from other animals, giving them a safe refuge.

- Owls are secretive creatures and would naturally avoid close contact with humans.

- When born in the wild, the first thing an owlet will see after hatching is their mother. They are brooded and fed by their mother, and develop a true sense of themselves.

It is clear that captivity cannot give these animals a fufilling life. In fact it is clear it gives a miserable and sad life. That is why we need to end the captivity of owls and other birds!

This year for Zoo Awareness Weekend we are speaking out for owls in captivity! You can take part too!

TAKE ACTION FOR OWLS IN CAPTIVITY