Councillor backs petition calling for a ban on mobile zoos labelled a ‘health risk’ to animals

  • Online petition was created by volunteer with Freedom For Animals 
  • Petition calls for ban on mobile zoos due to their 'significant health risk to the public' and 'environmental concerns

An online petition created by an animal rights charity worker has gained the backing of councillors in Manchester.

The petition, which as been signed by 82 people, calls for a ban of mobile zoos and for the “myth” of their education purposes to be dispelled.

The creator of the petition is a volunteer for Freedom For Animals, a national animal rights charity. 

Its mission statement is to “end the captivity of animals, especially those used for entertaining the public in zoos, circuses and the media industry”.

Freedom For Animals, mobile zoos, animal welfare
Sasha the meerkat was seized from a mobile zoo when they were raided by the RSPCA after a whistleblower got in touch with Freedom For Animals
Image: Freedom for Animals

The petition states: “Animals transported in mobile zoos spend significant periods of time confined in tiny, bare containers. Many mobile zoos are displays and public handling of largely exotic animals, such as reptiles, bearded dragons and meerkats.

“Often these exotic animals are deprived of specialist equipment important for survival and well-being while they are on the road.

“It is impossible for a mobile animal exhibition to provide animals with complex needs with all the facilities they need and prolonged physical contact with the public during ‘animal encounter experiences’ can cause significant stress to the captive animals, which can be detrimental to their health.”

The petition states that the RSPCA has expressed its concerns about mobile zoos, saying they result in “animals being stacked up in inappropriate boxes and enclosures, taken to places for display and for handing round again and again potentially in the same day”.

The petition adds: “Mobile animal exhibitions are sometimes promoted as ‘educational’.

“However, with often exotic animals petted and displayed in barren, highly artificial and stressed conditions in mobile zoos, and usually still subjected to daily lives of controlled deprivation when not in the road.

“This teaches children little about how animals can live and thrive in the wild, or how they could contribute to vital conservation work which protects wild animals and their precious natural habitats.”

Freedom For Animals, mobile zoos, animal welfare
Image: Freedom For Animals

Freedom for Animal’s research established that there are 187 mobile zoos in the UK. They claim the industry is ‘largely unregulated’, leaving animals to risk suffering and neglect. 

As a charity they have campaigned against mobile zoos after they where contacted by a whistleblower outlining their serious welfare concerns for the animals.

Laura Tomlinson, of Animals for Fredom, said: “Animals such as reptiles, amphibians, and birds, that often require specialised equipment and have complex needs that simply cannot be met while on the road.

“This is why we are calling on councils to implement a ban of mobile zoos using council land.

“The campaign for a ban of animals used in circuses began in a very similar way to this and proved to be a great way to gain public support and spread awareness of the issues within the industry.”

One of the signatories of the petition is city councillor and Green Party member Rob Nunney.

He said: “I am fully on board with what this petition represents.

“To take these animals out of the environment they are familiar with and put them in a new environment to be handled by strangers has got to be stressful and is just unnecessary.

“ This not how we should educate children on how to treat animals. They are not a commodity for us to use as we wish.”