PHASE OUT KEEPING ELEPHANTS IN UK ZOOS

Thank you for choosing to help us phase out the keeping of elephants in UK zoos.

Below you will find a pre-written letter that’s ready for you to send, or you can adapt as you wish. By filling in your details in the form below, your letter will be sent directly to the Secretary of State for the Environment.

We’d like to thank you for taking a few minutes to support our campaign for an elephant-free UK.

I believe the complex behavioural, emotional and physical needs of elephants cannot be met in captivity and urge you to bring in measures to phase out the keeping of elephants in zoos in the UK. To this end, I ask that you to make amendments to the relevant legislation to ban the import of elephants into the UK, and introduce a moratorium on breeding in UK zoos. Furthermore, I believe those zoos engaging in ‘Free Contact’ should cease this practice. Free Contact, with its direct handling of elephants, generally involves training these powerful animals to respect the pointed end of the ankus or bullhook – this is unsafe for keepers, and potentially damaging for elephants. In the wild, elephants cover many miles engaged in active foraging and social interactions. Life in zoos is one of restriction, and the incidence of lameness, obesity, reproductive and behavioural problems in elephants in zoos reflects the inadequacy of captivity. Captive breeding of elephants in zoos in the UK has little or nothing to offer the wild population of elephants, and those calves born in zoos face a high risk of dying young from Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus. In a public survey carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Born Free, more than half (56%) of those polled thought that elephants should not be kept in zoos in the UK (compared to only 28% who thought they should). More than three quarters (78%) of people polled, after being shown a photo of some examples of bullhooks, believed the use of this implement was unacceptable. These are views I share and I urge you to take the relevant action to bring about an end to the keeping of elephants in UK zoos.

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