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Ban on Importing Elephants Sought by RSPCA

Ban on Importing Elephants Sought by RSPCA

The RSPCA* has called for a ban on importing elephants to the UK.

The group’s stance has created tension among government bodies that want to begin importing elephants. WHY?

Groups associated with the British Government, animal welfare and zoo groups funded a report, which, among other things, recommended the importing of elephants to facilitate long term breeding. 

The RSPCA voiced concerns about the welfare of elephants in zoos, citing studies that elephants in zoos live significantly shorter lives than those in the wild.

Dr. Ros Clubb of the RSPCA said “Elephants are, without question, suffering in zoos. Adding yet more elephants to an ailing population simply masks the problems and if drastic improvements to these problems cannot be found, the RSPCA believes zoos should phase out elephant-keeping.”

The RSPCA has refused to join the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Biaza)on a panel  because it is disappointed that there won’t be discussion of a ban on importing elephants.

Zoos are entertainment, not sanctuary
Elephants do not belong in zoos, nor do any other animals. Within the bureaucracy of all zoos there are always scientists or officials to sing the praises of a zoo’s spacious, comfortable enclosures or their veterinary staff or conservation work. But a zoo is not a sanctuary, zoos exist to display animals for humans. They are first and foremost an entertainment business.

Elephants and all other animals belong in their natural environment, not in a cage to be gawked at by snow cone-clutching tourists.

However, the RSPCA is only half-right in this debate. Their calls for a ban on importing elephants or elephant-keeping should not include provisos or caveats. The call for a ban on elephants in zoos should be unequivocal and definitive. Saying that a ban on elephants in zoos should result “if solutions to welfare problems are not found” is not just weak but it’s moral cowardice.

It is not to say that elephants are somehow special or less ethical to confine, because it is not ethical to confine any animal. But elephants by virtue of their size, majesty, intelligence, and habits can be a wake up call. Hopefully seeing how badly suited elephants are for life in a zoo can lead to a realization that animals do not exist for our entertainment any more than they exist for our consumption.

Freedom for animals that are confined shouldn’t be contingent on the conditions of their prisons. We don’t want bigger cages, we want empty cages. We do not want better zoos, we want no zoos.

*Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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Photo: sly06

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218 comments

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7:02AM PDT on Sep 28, 2010

Yes, stop importing Elephants. Leave them in their natural habitat.

6:27AM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

yes there should be a ban on all Zoos, they are not sancutaries, and therefore subject to human intervention, they cannot live out a natural life, and this is ufair/cruel.
if i hadf my way, all zoos would be banned, and sanctuaries abound for thos creatures in need, yes ban ban ban them

11:21AM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

Thanks for sharing

5:15PM PDT on Sep 5, 2010

We should not be importing elephants anywhere. Most people don't know how to handle elephants gently. These are highly intelligent and sentient beings who are used to being with their families their whole lives, except for the bull elephants, who leave the herds when they are about 8 yrs. old. But, we have no right to kill their families and take the babies to be raised in circuses and zoos. They are mistreated in these institutions and don't know how to be cared for except in a sanctuary. We have no right to take any animal captive. All animals need to live out their lives in the wild where they come from. Please stop importing animals, especially elephants. None of them deserve to be kept captive. How would you like to witness your family killed and you be captured? Elephants never forget anything; and the killing of their families remains with them all of their lives. Stop this cruel behavior and capture. Let them, and all animals, be kept free! All species deserve to be free, including man.

9:13AM PDT on Sep 5, 2010

If they must be kept hostage, keep them in sanctuaries.

11:44AM PDT on Sep 3, 2010

Morgan great point. We can not nation build in Africa. The US is constantly condemed for the nation buidling we are doing now. Without a stable government how do people honestly expect elephants and other wild animals to survive. I would love to see more game parks/preserves and fewer traditional zoo type cages for animals. However, we can decide to leave the animals to become extinct in the wild or try to protect as many as we can in as natural and LARGE an area as we can.

We lack the power and the right to take over Africa to save the animals.

7:41AM PDT on Sep 3, 2010

Elephants should not be in circus and zoos.
And after captivity, they should be placed in sanctuaries.

5:50PM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

The only place for animals in captivity are sanctuaries.

Unfortunately in their natural environment they are killed for meat and ivory.

12:21PM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

This ban should be worldwide. Best news I've heard today.

2:14AM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

Not only should the UK place a ban on importing elephants, but the USA should also. The elephants who are confined and out of their element are miserable (just as we would be on Jupiter with two acres of land and a few other humans). - Karen J. - Maine, USA

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