12th April 2022

Freedom for Animals is calling on the public to go animal-free when attending events this Easter.

The Easter holiday is one of the busiest times for zoos, mobile zoos and aquariums but these venues cannot provide a proper environment for wild animals. So we are calling on the public not to visit them and instead go to animal free events and venues.

Zoos are bad for animals. Zoos cannot provide appropriate environments or enough space for wild animals. Captive animals like tigers, lions and elephants have a fraction of the space they would have in the wild.

Captive animals suffer. Freedom for Animal’s investigations have documented animal suffering on many occasions, with animals living in cramped conditions, sick animals on display and animals living in dirty enclosures with no environmental enrichment. Elephants in zoos live shorter lives than their wild counterparts and suffer from significant health problems, including foot and joint problems.

Animals are also kept in unnatural social groupings with animals being removed from other individuals with which they have formed strong bonds, to be traded with other zoos. It is not uncommon to see majestic animals like tigers and lions pacing up and down, over and over again at the window of their enclosure. Or elephants swaying their heads from side to side as they stand rooted to the spot. These ‘stereotypic behaviours’ are a sign of mental distress, brought on by captivity.

Freedom for Animals spokesperson, Dr Andrew Kelly, said

“Zoos have failed animals since their inception over a hundred years ago. Zoos simply cannot provide wild animals, even those that have been captive-bred, with appropriate space and appropriate environments. There is no doubt that animals suffer in zoos, not just physically but psychologically as well. We are calling on the public to send a message to zoos this Easter by not visiting them and to support in situ conservation projects, particularly those in developing countries, instead.”

Freedom for Animals Patron, Marc Bekoff PhD, Professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said

“Captive 'zooed' animals are not ambassadors for their species. If you want to learn about the amazing lives of the fascinating animals with whom we share, or with whom we are supposed to share, our magnificent planet, try to visit them in their natural homes and if you can't - and I know many people simply cannot - watch credible documentaries and videos, read about them, and support conservation projects that will protect the land, air, or water where they are meant to live”. 

Reasons not to visit zoos this Easter

Click here for more information on why zoos are bad for animals, including:

  • Artificial environments
  • Animal suffering
  • Zoos kill healthy ‘surplus’ animals
  • Zoos mutilate animals to prevent them from escaping
  • Zoos train animals to perform circus tricks (now banned in circuses)
  • Zoos host events such as music concerts and parties which distress animals
  • Conservation con – zoos do very little, if anything for conservation
  • Education con – zoos are entertainment venues there is no evidence of educational benefits
  • Licensed to cause suffering – our research has shown that 75% of zoo inspections find breaches of licenses conditions