Good News for Animals: Plans for New Petting Zoo in Scunthorpe Shelved
We’re delighted that wild animals such as meerkats and monkeys will not be kept in captivity at a new zoo in North Lincolnshire following a decision by the local council.
A planning application to put a petting zoo in Scunthorpe was rejected this week, potentially sparing many animals confinement in highly unnatural conditions, the stress of being handled by humans, and other detrimental consequences of being kept in captivity and put on display.
Councillors took into consideration a number of issues, including the proposed zoo’s proximity to a high-pressure gas pipeline and the objections of hundreds of compassionate locals who signed our open letter to North Lincolnshire Council last summer.
In that letter, we wrote:
Petting zoos contribute to a cruel cycle of breeding, abandonment and killing. Exhibitors place young animals on display and, if they survive the stress of handling, typically dispose of them when they become more difficult to handle, replacing them with new animals. Every year, sanctuaries have to turn away requests to house animals, and other cast-offs end up entering the exotic “pet” trade. Both rabbits and guinea pigs, animals who would be featured in the petting zoo, are prey animals who become extremely stressed in this kind of environment and naturally shy away from being touched.
The animals who will be put on display rather than being subjected to human handling will not fare much better. In the wild, meerkats’ natural habitat spans a million square miles in Southern Africa. They live in large underground networks in colonies numbering up to 40 and spend time grooming one another and teaching their young. In the proposed zoo, they would be confined to an artificial exhibit that denies them space, proper social groupings, the opportunity to explore and forage and other activities that are vital to their well-being.
At zoos, animals are rarely kept in normal social or family groups. Habitats are usually very small and inhibit or prevent natural behaviour, including running, scavenging and selecting partners. The animals’ frustrations can lead to abnormal, neurotic and even self-destructive behaviour.
We also pointed out the potential health risks associated with petting zoos, which can be hotbeds for serious pathogens, including E coli and salmonella bacteria.
Thank you to everyone who joined the campaign! Your actions have helped ensure that this unethical animal exhibit will never be built.
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