AboutZoos, Since 2008


Cam­paign launched to end muti­la­tion of birds in UK zoos

pub­lished 30 March 2013 | mod­i­fied 08 March 2014

Four-Birds CAPSAs cute fluffy chicks fea­ture heav­ily in Easter-​themed pro­mo­tions all over the coun­try, a shock­ing new report released today by ani­mal pro­tec­tion char­ity, the Cap­tive Ani­mals’ Pro­tec­tion Soci­ety (CAPS), exposes how thou­sands of baby chicks are being per­ma­nently muti­lated by UK zoos. A major new cam­paign, backed by experts and celebri­ties, has been launched to see the prac­tice banned.

Pin­ion­ing is the prac­tice of ampu­tat­ing the end of one wing of a new­born bird with a sharp pair of scis­sors — usu­ally with­out any pain relief. As the birds grow they will be lop-​sided and, as a result, will never be able to fly. This allows zoos and wildlife parks to keep flamin­gos and other exotic species in open-​top enclo­sures — giv­ing the mis­lead­ing impres­sion to vis­i­tors that the birds could fly away if they chose to. In fact these birds are, some­times quite lit­er­ally, sit­ting ducks; they can never fly away nor can they ever be released to the wild.

Pin­ion­ing is for­mally recog­nised as a ‘muti­la­tion’ and is ille­gal if car­ried out on farmed birds, but not on birds kept in zoos. The report reveals that a min­i­mum of 6,000 birds cur­rently held in UK zoos have been sub­jected to this muti­la­tion but it is likely this fig­ure is con­ser­v­a­tive given the small num­ber of estab­lish­ments inves­ti­gated for the study.

Cam­paign video:

In an attempt to defend what has been referred to by the British and Irish Asso­ci­a­tion of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) as a “rou­tine man­age­ment prac­tice”, zoo indus­try spokes­peo­ple have argued that cre­at­ing closed aviaries large enough to house birds such as flamin­gos would be too expen­sive and that keep­ing full-​winged exotic birds in open-​top enclo­sures would risk them escap­ing. Unlike any other ani­mal held in zoos, it seems that it is only with birds that ampu­ta­tion is used in place of invest­ment in enclo­sures.

The CEO of the con­ser­va­tion char­ity, the Wild­fowl & Wet­lands Trust (WWT), gave evi­dence to Par­lia­ment in defence of the prac­tice dur­ing the pas­sage of the Ani­mal Wel­fare Act 2006, stat­ing that his organ­i­sa­tion pin­ions all of its thou­sands of cap­tive wild­fowl and flamin­gos in order to bring peo­ple “close to wildlife”.

Said CAPS Direc­tor, Liz Tyson:
The report released today offers just the tip of the ice­berg in terms of num­bers of birds who have had their wings par­tially ampu­tated by zoos. The vast major­ity of species and indi­vid­u­als that have been dis­abled in this way are not threat­ened in the wild so there is no pos­si­ble argu­ment that this is being done for con­ser­va­tion pur­poses. If the zoo indus­try was ampu­tat­ing the paws of tigers or the legs of giraffes, it would never be accepted. This has gone on for too long — no ani­mal should ever be sub­jected to the removal of part of a limb sim­ply so that they can be more eas­ily and cheaply exhib­ited to zoo visitors.

Peace­ful demon­stra­tions are planned up and down the United King­dom over Easter week­end to raise aware­ness on the con­tro­ver­sial issue and experts and well-​known names have already spo­ken out in sup­port of the new cam­paign.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Cap­tive Ani­mals’ Pro­tec­tion Society(CAPS) | per­mis­sion granted. Orig­i­nal text lenght has been edited.
(Source: CAPS News, 27.03.2013)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
Fol­low me on: