Controversial ‘Zoo Lates’ Under Fire From Leading Animal-Protection Groups
For Immediate Release:
4 September 2014
Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]
PETA, RSPCA, Born Free and Others Call for an End to Rowdy Late-Night Parties at London Zoo
London – In light of reports that drunken partygoers have harassed and even injured the animals at the London Zoo during its controversial “Zoo Lates” events, PETA, the RSPCA, Animal Aid, the Born Free Foundation, OneKind, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, and Viva! have come together to call on the zoo to stop holding the traumatising events.
As the groups note in a joint letter to David Field, the zoological director of the Zoological Society of London, at a recent event one person reportedly tried to pour beer on a tiger, another allegedly attempted to undress and enter the penguin enclosure and another fell and “accidentally” punched a bird, among other incidents. In addition, allowing visitors in the zoo outside normal business hours interrupts the animals’ usual sleep schedule, especially when visitors behave in a manner that causes the animals distress.
“Plying thousands of people with alcohol on what is actively promoted by the zoo as a ‘wild night out’ might be a good fundraiser for the London Zoo, but it doesn’t put the animals’ needs first”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “If the London Zoo really cared about animals, it would make sure that this summer’s ‘Zoo Lates’ events are its last.”
More than 6,000 people have attended each “Zoo Lates” event. Other dangerous incidents reported include one in which a man got “touchy feely” with some baby penguins and another in which a man asked a staff member, “Which penguin can I fight?” Visitors have also reported that people participating in the “silent disco” – in which people listen to music on headphones – sing and shout along to the music near animals’ enclosures.
The groups’ joint letter to the London Zoo is available on request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.