SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Zoos

Animals in Entertainment, Sport, and Work

SPCA advocates that animals must only be kept in zoological institutions if their physical, health, and behavioural needs are met.

SPCA advocates that zoological organisations that keep wild and domestic animals should incorporate education of the animals’ welfare needs into all programs that target visitors including signage, educational course offerings, and docent interactions.

SPCA advocates for zoological institutions to have comprehensive behavioural management programs to ensure the welfare needs of the animals including: enrichment programs that are monitored and evaluated according to the species-specific needs, be handled and trained using low-stress, force-free methods, live in species-typical social groups, and be housed in species-appropriate facilities.

Wild animals must only be kept in zoological institutions if they form part of a valid conservation programme which may include: captive breeding and rearing of animals that can be released into the wild, support of in situ conservation programmes, or contribute to the body of knowledge of specific species that would help support their wildlife counterparts.

SPCA opposes the use, confinement, exhibition, or performance of wild animals solely for commercial gain or human entertainment. Some animals with complex social, physiological or behavioural needs can be extremely difficult to suitably provide for in captivity. Therefore, our organisation is opposed to the keeping of these species for public exhibition where scientific evidence indicates that the needs of these animals cannot be adequately met in a captive environment.

‘Wild animals’ in this context refers non-domesticated animals.

(see Captive Animals for more details)

(see Trade in Wild Animals in Animals in the Wild for position statements for more information).

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