The agony of raising zoos and circuses

Zoos, safari parks, and circuses use big cats like lions and tigers as magnets for visitors because they want to make as much profit as possible from the animals. Wild animals generally suffer great suffering in captivity – but the unscrupulous entertainment industry condones even greater suffering through the practice of dangerous breeding.

Some zoos such as the Aschersleben Zoo, safari parks such as Serengeti Park Hodenhagen and Safariland Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock as well as circuses such as Circus Krone rely on lions or white tigers, which are particularly rare and are meant to attract more visitors.

White and black tigers – not their own species, but torture breeds

White tigers and white lions are not two separate types of animals, but just a different color. In nature, pure white coat color is extremely rare, as it is inherited recessively. This means that both the mother and the father must pass the genetic information on to their children. Thus, the breeding of these large white cats in captivity is based on the deliberate interbreeding of a few animals captured in the wild. In the case of white tigers, it is believed that the origins of the breeding line can be traced back to the deliberate mating between a male white tiger and his daughter. Therefore, reproduction is associated with significant risks:

  • Young animals are often born with serious health conditions, including cleft palate, other facial and skull abnormalities, neurological disorders, kidney problems, heart defects, Parkinson’s disease, deformed feet, hip joints, scoliosis, and other spine problems. [1]
  • With white tigers, more than 80 percent of cubs can die during or shortly after birth. [2] Also, a large proportion of live disabled or reduced animals are usually killed by the euthanasia method.
  • According to the Landau Zoo in the Palatinate, 30 to 60 white tigers must be born inbred in order to have a “chic” animal baby with white fur.
  • Many offspring die long before the natural life expectancy of their species. [2]

Because of the frequently occurring severe genetic defects, the zoo umbrella organizations of Europe (EAZA), USA (AZA), and Australia (ZAAA) condemn the offspring of great white cats. [3, 4, 5]

When it comes to breeding big white cats, profit comes before health

For breeders, profit is more important than the welfare of the animals, because white and black tigers are presented as supposed “attractions”. Due to the increase in marketing opportunities, the demand for animals increases, especially in circuses. But individuals can also buy big cats for up to 50,000 euros and even keep them as “pets” in Germany. [6]

The suffering of animals in captivity does not protect the species

Like many other wild animals, captive-bred big cats – no matter what color their fur – cannot be released into the wild. The breeding and conservation of animals in zoos is not a sustainable contribution to the protection of species, as this requires the preservation of natural habitats.

While tigers and lions live in areas of several hundred square kilometers in the wild, animals that are hunted in zoos or circuses usually live sad lives on a few square metres. Animals suffer from inappropriate housing conditions and often develop severe behavioral disturbances. In zoos and circuses, visitors learn nothing about the natural needs and living conditions of animals kept in cages and cramped cages.

We in PETA Germany have been demanding for years: instead of investing millions of taxpayers’ money in zoo maintenance, the money should be invested in specific projects to protect species in the animals’ natural habitats. In addition, the ban on wild animals in Germany is long overdue, so the violent training with sticks and whips is finally over.

Black Panther in a Cage by Circus Crone
Animals are raised and kept in captivity so that zoos and the like can make a profit from them.

Help end animal suffering in zoos and circuses!

Animals are not there for our amusement: Just like humans, animals experience suffering and pain. And like us, they too wish for a happy and harm-free life as freely as possible.

Therefore, please do not visit facilities such as zoos and circuses where animals are confined and often tortured. Tell those around you about the suffering of the animals and that the real protection of the species must take place in the natural habitats of the animals. Choose animal-friendly alternatives to the zoo and circus.

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