Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist of the Animal Welfare Institute, member of the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, outlines the impact of captivity on cetaceans and how conservationists around the world are fighting to find alternatives to traditional zoo practices.
Naomi Rose’s take:
“This is a very old-fashioned concept in a very modern world, and what’s perpetuating it at this point is ignorance in the East, and the desperation of a dying industry in the West. It’s very strange to me how wedded to the concept of live animal exhibits the whale and dolphin community is. Zoos and aquariums are actually modernizing with a little bit more flexibility. For example, they are phasing out elephant exhibits, and polar bear exhibits, and the common denominator of the exhibits they’re phasing out are large wide-ranging species. They are recognizing that large wide-ranging species do not thrive in captivity. And the whales and dolphins exhibiting facilities, who specialize in these species, are clinging on for their dear lives to this type of exhibition.”
World famous wildlife biologist, elephant expert and international speaker, Dr. Winnie Kiiru describes how viewing elephant behavior in zoos is not an accurate reflection of natural elephant behaviour. Instead of educating kids, it is in fact only a lesson in seeing elephants exhibit aberrant behaviors in unnatural settings.
In this episode, Rob Laidlaw of Zoocheck highlights how this magnificent species, fascinating to people the world over, is one of the most prized and, therefore, most in demand at zoos around the globe, as they are a star mega-fauna attraction. However, polar bears are in fact one of most ill-suited species to captivity according to scientific research, given their wide-ranging nature and very specific and complex physical and psychological needs. Rob lays out the problems associated with keeping them in captivity and provides us with the tools we need to identify welfare problems when seeing them in zoos.
In this episode, Kathryn speaks with Rob Laidlaw, founder and director of the Canadian animal protection charity Zoocheck. Listen as Rob describes the little known zoo approach of framing, which functions as a type of deception for the visitor, making animals appear like they are in more natural surroundings than they actually are. This practice caters to the human, rather than the animal, and is found frequently at zoos and aquariums around the globe. Learn what we as animal lovers can do to ensure a high standard of animal welfare if we do visit one of these facilities.
Listen as expert Dr. Randy Malamud, Regent’s Professor of English at Georgia State University, life fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, and author of ten books including Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals and Captivity, discusses the inherent imperialism and miseducation that underlies the practice of animal ‘ambassadorship’. Hone in as Randy brings to light the manipulation of this misnomer by the captivity industry, and discusses the disastrous ecological as well as animal welfare consequences of it.
In this episode, Kathryn interviews Dr. Andrew Fenton and Dr. Letitia Meynell, philosophy professors at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia with specialties in bioethics, epistemology and animal ethics. Listen in as they remind us that even the top zoo industry leaders and personnel understand the importance of starting from the premise that captivity is inherently wrong. Taking care of captive animals then becomes a challenge of how can we best do this and meet each individual beings’ needs most effectively. Listen as these thoughtful and knowledgeable experts remind us that animals are not ‘things’ and should not be considered property under the law, as is sadly the reality in many countries around the globe.