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Report highlights animal cruelty in zoos across the world
Wild animals in zoos and aquariums across the world are enduring appalling suffering for visitor entertainment.
Researchers observe dolphins being used as surfboards by their trainers

Animal welfare organisation World Animal Protection (WAP) is calling on the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) to fulfil its role as the global alliance of ‘the world’s leading zoos and aquariums’.

The demand comes after a report by WAP revealed that wild animals in zoos and aquariums across the world are enduring appalling suffering for visitor entertainment.

Titled The Show Can’t Go On, the report documents animal suffering behind visitor attractions provided by zoos linked with WAZA. Among these include wildlife ‘selfies’, circus-like shows and elephant rides.

It also includes on-site research carried out at 12 WAZA-linked zoos and aquariums. During this, researchers observed big cats being forced to perform tricks set to loud music, dolphins being used as surfboards by their trainers, and primates being exploited as photo-props dressed in costume.

“Our research exposes some of the worst examples of wild animal attractions that simply have no place in a modern zoo,” the report notes. “Whilst acknowledging that a life in captivity will always be a far cry from a life in the wild, this report maps out solutions to establishing responsible zoos and aquariums that respect the animals in their care.”

WAZA is the “umbrella” organisations for zoos and aquariums across the world. As such, it is expected to maintain clear animal welfare standards and guidelines for its members.

The overall goal of WAZA is to ‘guide, promote and encourage members in animal care and welfare.’ But this report shows that cruel and demeaning visitor attractions are still taking place in venues such as Sea World, San Antonio, and the Cango Wildlife Each, South Africa.

WAP states that by failing to properly address these attractions, WAZA itself ‘is failing to adhere to its own animal welfare guidelines’.

“WAZA should clarify and communicate its position on this issue and review and revise membership status from any venues refusing to shift away from providing irresponsible wild animal visitor attractions,” the report concludes. “It needs to make its interventions public with clear, time-bound action plans which the zoos and aquariums can be held accountable.

“Tourists visiting any venue displaying the WAZA logo must be confident they are not inadvertently supporting cruel visitor interactions with wild animals.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.