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  운영자 2005-02-14 17:38:55 | Hit : 18108 | Vote : 6549
Subject   [소식] Activists slam zoos, urge legislation
Activists slam zoos, urge legislation

INHUMANE: The Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan said many animals' behavior shows that they are ill or stressed, and said better laws are needed
By Chiu Yu-Tzu
Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004,Page 2

A lion, minus much of its coat, behind bars at the Kaohsiung Shou Shan Zoo.

Better laws regulating zoos are urgently needed because the habits and behavior of zoo animals reflect the decades of neglect they have been subjected to as the result of human-centered thinking, animal rights activists said yesterday.

Members of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) screened a documentary at the Legislative Yuan yesterday to prove that some zoo animals suffer from neglect and abuse.

Volunteers of the society spent two years shooting the documentary in zoos around the nation. In the film, a mangy Alaskan Brown Bear confined to a small room in the Kaohsiung Municipal Shou Shan Zoo has lost most of its fur.

An orangutan housed at the same zoo jumps in place for hours at a time, while an elephant lies on the ground without being responsive to others' touching.

"We've seen too many cases involving abnormal animal behavior. Animals are treated cruelly in unnatural environments created by human-centered managers," said Chen Yu-min (날Ι귓), the society's director.

A fiery spectacle at the Leopard King Safarir Zoo.

Chen said that zookeepers are supposed to be specialist animal caretakers, but many of them were unaware that their charges were sick until volunteers working on the documentary reported the illnesses to them.

"Zookeepers don't even notice the abnormal behavior of stressed animals," Chen said.

Chen said that unusual behavior is sometimes the first clue that an animal might be sick.

According to EAST, there are more than 100 animal centers in this country, including three major public zoos and two private ones. The Taipei Zoo, the largest in the nation, has more than 3,000 reptiles, amphibians and mammals of about 400 different species. Its annual income is more than NT$200 million.

The activists complained that zookeepers introduce rare species from abroad to attract more visitors without considering the problems posed by the inappropriate environment provided for the animals. Even worse, artificial breeding services are available in some private zoos, catering to buyers.

"Relocating wild animals to zoos [to satisfy curious people] is wrong. We should promote non-zoo education, which stresses the value of observing animals in the field without disturbing them," said EAST president Wu Hung (?챟).

Wu Hung said that certain kinds of animals, such as polar bears and elephants, had been classified by Western conservationists as unsuitable for zoos. In Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, he noted, a stone elephant was built a decade ago with a sign saying "You won't find a single elephant in this zoo except this one!"

Wu Hung said Edinburgh was evidence that animal conservationists in the West tried to inform people about human beings' inability to create a good environment in a zoo for certain animals.

Wu said that well-designed zoo laws are necessary if zoos have to exist, noting that examples of such laws can be found in the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, the EU, Australia, Colombia and India.

"We have to improve the zoo environment to make animals feel more comfortable," Wu said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (쭴퀹땡) said he would work with his colleagues to draft laws to regulate zoos, adding, "The way we treat animals is an indicator of the degree of civilization in our society."

Li Ken-cheng (??촄), director of the ecological education center of the National Teachers' Association, said that if zoos remained problematic, he would urge teachers to stop taking students to zoos.
 Next   [소식] Zoo sets up sperm bank to save rare species of big cat from extinction

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