Target: Billy Broussard, chairman of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission
Goal: Enact stricter regulations regarding wild animal possession that would effectively shut down roadside zoos
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be holding a public hearing on September 2, 2014 regarding possible changes to current wild animal legislation. Currently, many cruel and unsafe roadside zoos are allowed to operate due to a legal loophole that the proposed changes plan to close. The new regulations would essentially ban private ownership of any wild animal, thus rendering roadside zoos obsolete.
Roadside zoos are dangerous installations that are often unsafe and unsanitary. Not only do the poor facilities pose major health risks to the captive creatures, but zoo patrons (who often come into close quarters with the caged animals) could also be seriously injured. Unlike most zoos, roadside zoos are inhumanely enclosed, limiting animals’ movements and often producing anxious behaviors. Animal rights group PETA reports that, “Animals are denied the freedom to run, climb, socialize, hunt, and raise their young,” leading to “abnormal, neurotic behavior caused by physical and mental frustrations of captivity.” The zoos also differ from their mainstream counterparts in that they do not provide long-term veterinary care, instead breeding new animals to replace ones that have become too old or damaged for display.
Sign the following petition and urge Louisiana’s wildlife commission to support regulation changes that would outlaw roadside zoos. Zoo creatures are living beings, not disposable commodities.
Dear Mr. Broussard,
As chairman of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, you have the unique opportunity to shut down cruel roadside zoos for good. Countless monkeys, tigers, and bears suffer in these filthy, unsecure locations with meager living space and no stimulating activities. At the September 2, 2014 public hearing, please adopt stricter regulations that will finally bring this sanctioned animal abuse to an end.
Roadside zoos differ from typical zoos in very specific and worse ways. PETA describes the compact living quarters, stating, “Animals are denied freedom to run, climb, socialize, hunt, and raise their young. Animals…often exhibit abnormal, neurotic behavior caused by physical and mental frustrations of captivity.” The description bears a striking resemblance to the effects of solitary confinement on human prisoners; the key difference is that these animals are innocent. In addition, circus handlers are solely focused on the usefulness of the creatures, overlooking long-term medical care to focus on constant breeding to resupply the circus’ animal stock.
Because of these terribly barbaric conditions, I urge you to close the legal loophole allowing private ownership of wild animals in Louisiana. Roadside zoos are legalized slavery and exploitation; they are not sources of entertainment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: PETA via Wikimedia Commons