As 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.
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:
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)