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     Many zoos are very sad places for animals.  Although they get basic food and water, most animals don’t have much to do and must be very bored.   They don’t get to do many of the things they would do in the wild like building their own dens or nests, searching out the foods they like, raising their families, etc.

     Many zoo animals are captured far away and shipped over many miles in small crates to zoos.  Sometimes their mothers or other family members are killed in order to capture them.

     When zoos end up with too many of one kind of animal or when some animals grow old, some zoos sell the animals to people who own game farms where people pay money to shoot them.  Sometimes they are sent to laboratories to be experimented on.

     Don’t visit the zoo.  If people didn’t go, they wouldn’t make money and would have to close down.

     If your class is planning a trip to a zoo, ask your teacher to plan a trip to a museum, park or sanctuary instead.

     If your teacher or family insist that you go to the zoo, bring a pencil and paper to take notes.  Keep your eyes open for the following:

  • Do the animals have water?  Is it clean?  Is there shade for them?
  • Can they stand up, lie down and move around comfortably?
  • How much space do they have?  Do they have a private space?
  • Do the animals look healthy?  Do they have sores or injuries?
  • Does the area smell? It shouldn’t if the caretakers are doing their job.

     You can get a more detailed zoo checklist from the Animal Welfare Institute, P. O. Box 3650, Washington, DC 20017.

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