76% Of UK Want Large Animals Phased Out Of Zoos, Study Says

Big cats, rhinos, and elephants can be found at zoos across the UK


3 Minutes Read

A tiger in captivity being kept at a UK zoo Could the government crack down on large animals in zoos? - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Survey findings have revealed that more than three-quarters of the UK want the next government to end large animal captivity in zoos.

The survey, commissioned by international wildlife charity Born Free, was presented to 2,000 adults. It found that 76 percent consider it “very” or “quite” important for large animals to be phased out of attractions. This would mean no more captive big cats, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos (plus more) in zoos and wildlife parks.

“This compelling statistic shows there is now a tide of public support for Born Free’s founding principle on which the charity has campaigned for nearly four decades,” the charity said in a statement. 

“Clearly, politicians and decision-makers can no longer afford to ignore those seeking to end the archaic, unethical, and damaging practice of keeping large animals in zoos.”

A captive elephant at an animal zoo
Adobe Stock Campaigners have long called for elephants to be removed from zoos

UK citizens want to put animals first

Alongside calling for an end to animal captivity, which frequently fails to live up to existing welfare standards, UK citizens appear to want animal legislation in general to be improved.

Central to the report is that 93 percent of the UK regards animal welfare as “very” or “quite” important. People aged 25-34 were the most likely to regard it as such (95 percent). Meanwhile, those over 65 were the least likely (87 percent). 

Other findings include 85 percent of people wanting to see a ban on endangered or vulnerable animal hunting trophies imports. The laws surrounding the buying and keeping of exotic pets should also be tightened, according to 83 percent of respondents. 

A tiger in a wired cage in a UK zoo
Adobe Stock Big cats can be found at zoos across the UK

However, it’s not just animals within the UK that are being considered. As many as 82 percent of people want the next UK government to support the eradication of global animal cruelty. It was suggested that trade deals could be used as leverage. Such a move could impact regular barbaric hunts such as dolphin slaughters in the Faroes

‘Transformative changes’

Born Free refers to its survey findings as evidence of public support for “transformative changes” to wildlife legislation.

Therefore, it is demanding that all UK political parties pay attention to the will of the people. This will mean making animal welfare a priority in their manifestos. 

“We call on all political parties to recognize the importance of protecting and restoring wildlife and wild habitats and eliminating the negative impacts we have on the welfare of individual animals by placing nature protection and animal welfare improvements at the heart of their manifesto commitments, and delivering on those commitments in the parliamentary sessions that will follow,” Will Travers, Born Free’s co-founder and executive president said in a statement. “Nothing less will do.”

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