Tragic captivity

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We WERE saddened to hear of the passing of Sarah McClay, who was attacked by a Sumatran tiger in an enclosure at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, near Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on 24 May. The tragedy is just one of a series of preventable incidents in which people have been injured in captive-animal enclosures around the world.

Keeping wild animals in captivity and denying them the opportunity to fulfil even their most basic needs, such as selecting a mate and leading a life without human domination at every turn, can lead to neurotic behaviour and depression. Containing Sumatran tigers – who would ordinarily establish a territory of many miles and who are natural predators – in a limited environment can only aggravate their temperament. Furthermore, it does nothing to protect these magnificent animals in nature. The ultimate salvation for endangered species lies in protecting their natural habitats, not subjecting them to life sentences in zoos.

Ben Williamson

People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals