London Zoo Ditches ‘Zoo Lates’ Parties but Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Posted by on June 10, 2015 | Permalink

Last week, we learned that London Zoo scrapped its “Zoo Lates” parties after thousands of people signed a petition calling for an end to these rowdy, alcohol-fuelled events, at which visitors allegedly poured beer over a tiger, cracked the glass of the snake enclosure and terrorised animals in other ways.

Apparently, the events manager who came up with the misguided idea resigned last autumn. It’s certainly a relief – both for the animals and for everyone who cares about them. Nobody wants a repeat of some of the outrageous incidents that were reported last year. However, the zoo is replacing “Zoo Lates” with another series of evening events called “Sunset Safaris”, suggesting that, rather than a true step forward for animals, the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) decision amounts to little more than a rebranding exercise.

Sunset Safaris are still after-hours events, likely to have a negative impact on the welfare of the zoo’s inhabitants. Allowing visitors in the zoo outside normal business hours interrupts the animals’ usual sleep schedule and can cause them fear, distress and even physical harm.

And of course, there are broader issues, such as the ethics of keeping animals in zoos in the first place. Wild animals aren’t exhibits and don’t belong in captivity, where every aspect of their lives is controlled.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in speaking out against ZSL’s irresponsible Zoo Lates. Although the zoo has not gone far enough in protecting the welfare of the animals in its care, our voices have clearly had an influence on the zoo’s events programme.

Please keep on helping animals in captivity by avoiding zoos, marine parks and all other businesses that turn a profit by keeping animals locked up, thousands of miles away from their natural habitats.

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