The truth about petting zoos
Petting zoos provide poor educational resources about animals for children and are inappropriate environments for the animals themselves. They can be noisy, stressful places for young animals, who have no place to escape from constant human attention. They also fail to provide any real understanding of the animals and perpetuate the notion that they exist for our amusement, to be exploited and not respected as sentient beings.
Moreover, they give a completely misleading picture of the real life of farm animals. Ironically, today’s modern livestock operations are probably too horrific to show most children. No one wants to visit a modern battery hen operation with thousands of hens confined in cages, or a hog farm with sows immobilized in pens for hours on end. Showing children what happens on a real, modern factory farm would likely be too traumatic.
Petting zoos can also be dangerous for children, as they can be sources of disease such as E.coli. There have been a number of E.coli outbreaks reported at petting zoos over the last few decades, including cases in the Lower Mainland.
It’s a difficult dilemma for any parent who wants their children to gain an appreciation of animals and to provide a fun day out. Unfortunately, today’s farm animals are either hidden away in inhumane factory farms or languishing in petting zoos that aren’t much fun for animals and offer a poor – and potentially dangerous – educational experience for kids.
How you can help
Boycott petting zoos, and ask your friends and family to do the same.
Donate to VHS’ efforts to stop the exploitation of petting zoo animals and other animals in captivity.
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