How You Can Be An Advocate
- for Surplus Captive Wildlife
- for Animals in Zoos
- for Animals in Circuses & Entertainment
- for Animals at Canned Hunting Ranches
What You Should Know:
- PAWS believes that wild animals belong in the wild!
- Responsible breeding entails more than producing offspring. It must involve providing for animals and their progeny for the rest of their lives; a long-term plan for habitat protection; and a long-term plan for protection of wild species.
- Circuses often justify their captive breeding programs by saying they are saving endangered species.
Captive bred animals are never good candidates for reintroduction to the wild.
- Drive-through animal parks breed animals that have nowhere to go creating a surplus supply of captive bred animals.
- Often, traveling circuses and drive-through parks and petting zoos will promote their business through schools and kids clubs.
- Exotic animal auctions are proof that captive breeding programs don’t work. In addition, they are cruel to animals; they pose a threat to public safety; and they spread diseases such as salmonella, TB and herpes.
- In-breeding often produces animals who will suffer poor health and genetic defects.
- Approximately 40% of the animals that leave zoos are sold to dealers, auctions, hunting ranches, unidentified individuals or unaccredited zoos or game farms.
- Approximately 30% of these animals go to professional animal dealers, some of whom are unlicensed.
- Beyond the initial sale of zoo animals, subsequent transactions are virtually impossible to track. Further, no effort is made to track their future offspring.
- In the U.S. alone, the surplus animal trade is a multi-billion dollar business with increasing links to drug trafficking.
1/3 of all cocaine seized in the U.S. involves some level of exotic wildlife trade.
- In Texas alone, there are at least 500 canned hunting ranches.
Animals sent to hunting ranches may come from backyard breeders, drive-through wildlife parks, the entertainment industry, dealers or zoos.
- A monthly zoo association catalog of surplus animals, lists thousands of animals “for sale” or “free.”
- A cougar cub may be purchased for as little as $50, a polar bear may be purchased for as little as $100.
- Most animals at PAWS were victims of surplus breeding – eventually rescued from horrendous conditions of abusive and negligent backyard breeders, traveling zoos or circuses or impounded by law enforcement officials during drug raids.
What You Can Do To Help:
- Don’t buy into the public relations argument that saving endangered species is a justification for captive breeding.
- Ask your local zoo questions about their captive breeding and surplus animal policy.
- Ask local zoo to establish policies that provide lifetime care for their new births.
- Ask zoos, circuses and traveling shows if they use bull-hooks to train and manage their elephants.
- Determine if elephants are provided adequate space to ensure free range movement and natural behavior.
- Ask circuses that come to your area if they breed animals – challenge them by asking what future plans they have for the animals; what plans they have for habitat protection; what plans they have for protection of wild species.
- Tell friends and family not to patronize any use of animals in entertainment and urge them to boycott drive-through parks, zoos, and circuses that participate in irresponsible breeding programs.
- Write sponsors and producers of movies and events that exploit animals, advising them why you will not patronize their product.
- Urge sponsors and producers to use non-animal acts or animatronics.
- Contact your local authorities and county and city officials and work to have local ordinances passed to ban keeping exotic pets.
- Contact your state and federal representatives and ask them to abolish animal auctions.
- If exotic animal auctions occur in your area, contact your local humane society and the USDA to request that they visit auction facilities and cite violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
- Contact your local authorities and county and city officials to have local ordinances passed to ban canned hunting.
- Contact your state and federal representatives to abolish canned hunting.
- Support legislation to ban elephant bullhooks and to get elephants off chains.
Never think that one person doesn’t have the power to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Pat Derby talks about the latest captive wildlife news at PAWS.
In April, 2003, officials executed a search warrant on a "pseudo-sanctuary" operated under the name "Colton Tiger Rescue" in Colton, California. During their search of the owner's residence they discovered 90 dead tiger carcasses, including 58 baby tigers dead in a freezer. Thirteen other cats were found barely alive. Then the state seized control of "Colton Tiger Rescue" where Spanky and 53 other big cats remained. Criminal charges were brought against the owner. Learn More»