Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Help Us. End This.

No life for a lioness - your gift could help her
No life for a lioness - your gift could help her
An elephant repetitively circles - help stop her misery
An elephant repetitively circles - help stop her misery
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Your Gift Today Will Help Stop Suffering

They stand like a row of battery cages, but each one houses a single unhappy lion. One lioness - clearly distressed - repeatedly paces back and forth. There is nowhere to escape from the public’s gaze. She should be with her pride, surviving on her wits in Africa’s vast sunlit savannah. But she is alone, surrounded by concrete.

Another zoo, another barren, concrete enclosure. A solitary elephant, all alone, neurotically circles round and around. In the wild this sensitive, complex creature would be living with her family in a lush, forested habitat. But this ‘zoo elephant’, isolated from nature, suffers unimaginable deprivation and copes the only way she can. Like countless other animals she is incarcerated for life, to satisfy the brief curiosity of zoo visitors. Her life is a nightmare.

Two miserable chimpanzees - perceptive, intelligent animals - hug themselves for comfort and one rocks side to side (see pic overleaf). A hopeless macaque monkey huddles on a broken fence; a desolate brown bear gazes bleakly through rusty wire; a polar bear - evolved to migrate hundreds of miles - lies prone on a bare floor. Inquisitive opportunistic animals, kept in a monotonous unchanging world.

You can stop this suffering - donate today!
Are you wondering when these photographs were taken? They seem reminiscent of the Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Victorian times. It seems unbelievable that they were taken just a month or two ago, right here, where we live. We have thousands of such images and many were taken in Europe’s most affluent countries - Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, and yes, here in the UK.

Help stop this abuse
Help stop this abuse
We can’t turn our back on her
We can’t turn our back on her
A catalogue of suffering
A catalogue of suffering

I should be used to looking at captive wild animals, having done so for many decades. But these tragic pictures leave me almost speechless. Please look into the eyes of the macaque, the bear, the lioness – well, please look at all the animals. They tell their own story more poignantly than any words of mine. And the message they give is simple. Help us. End this.

Forgive me for starting the New Year with such distressing images. But I can’t turn away. Rundown zoos, dilapidated enclosures, mistreated and neglected animals. How dare we treat animals in this way? How dare we imprison them and call it 'entertainment' or worse, 'education'? But these animals have no voice. They cannot complain. They rely on you and me to speak up for them.

So I am writing to tell you about our new campaign 'Beyond the Bars'. The welfare of zoo animals lies at the very heart of everything we do at Born Free. With your support we challenge the mighty multi-billion pound international zoo industry. We seek a better, more compassionate future, an end to such anguish.

This is an intensely personal appeal. Until his death, my late husband, Bill, made it his life's work to document the abysmal conditions for Europe's zoo animals. This led to the establishment of the EU Zoos Directive. Whatever you think about the EU, this essential Europe-wide legislation requires zoos in all 28 countries to meet standards in animal care. But many zoos, like the ones in these pictures, are clearly substandard. They still fail to meet legal requirements. Governments have to take this issue very seriously. It is our job to try and make sure they do. This report explains more.

Your gift will help end this misery
Now that I am 85 I appreciate, perhaps more than ever, that there is no time to waste. I want to make the most of every minute. With your help we must close the worst zoos and make sure legislation is enforced. This will improve standards, reduce suffering and result in fewer zoos with fewer animals.

The New Year is a time for resolutions. Mine is to get 2017 off to a flying start for the animals - will you join me? Born Free won’t stop fighting until captive animal suffering is brought to end.

Thank you dear friend. Your support means the world to me.

Virginia McKenna OBE
Founder & Trustee
Born Free Foundation

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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