Zoos and Aquaria
The OHS believes that the best place for wild animals is their natural environments.
The OHS strongly opposes the capture or confinement of any wild animal solely for display, entertainment and/or education purposes in zoos and aquaria. The OHS believes all animals should have access to the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare.
The OHS believes that where confinement is necessary, animals must be provided with an environment that fulfills their physical, psychological and social needs.
The OHS opposes the selling by zoos or aquaria of their surplus animals for any reason, including hunting or research and supports population control through sterilization and natural attrition.
In the event that a wild or exotic animal is already being used for entertainment purposes, the OHS supports humane relocation to an appropriate environment that can meet their needs, such as a reputable animal sanctuary.
The OHS acknowledges the existence of captive breeding programs, however believes that natural breeding programs involving habitat rehabilitation and wildlife protection are more sustainable alternative.
The OHS supports and encourages public education about wild animals. Viable alternatives to zoos and aquaria exist through video, photos, props and other educational tools; and therefore the OHS supports the humane phasing out of zoos and aquaria through sterilization programs and natural attrition.
The OHS does not support any organizations that:
- Allow direct contact with wild or exotic animals, for example selfies with the animal
- Deal in the trade of importing, exporting or trafficking of wild or exotic animals
- Transport wild or exotic animals in their care for events e.g. birthday parties, camps, day trips or conferences
- Hire staff who are not qualified and properly trained in animal care
- Utilize any animal, wild or domestic, in any way which may cause the animal undue distress, discomfort or fear.
The OHS encourages members of the public to avoid supporting any organization or companies that use wild or exotic animals for entertainment purposes.
Many organizations or companies who use wild or exotic animals may claim that the animals enjoy the interactions and are not distressed. Observing the animal’s body language and behaviour, however, usually reveals that they are experiencing distress and discomfort, which compromise their welfare and five freedoms. Given the unpredictable nature of working with and interacting with wild or exotic animals, there is a significant safety concerns to members of the public and the animal’s keepers during these interactions.
Some groups that use wild or exotic animals for entertainment purposes may claim that their intention is to educate members of the public about these animals. The OHS believes that the information shared about wild or exotic animals could be presented without the use of captive exotic or wild animals present (through videos, photos and use of props). In most cases these groups are profiting from these interactions by charging patrons for these interactions.
The OHS believes that wild or exotic animals have the right to live their lives free of human interference, and in cases where re-release in the wild in not possible, every effort should be made to provide a living environment that simulates that animal’s natural environment through a reputable sanctuary.
Approved by the OHS Board of Directors March 2021.