19 August 2007

PETA's Action Alert - The Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City ,UT

For anyone that has been with me since earlier this year in March, this will come as no surprise. If you weren't, read my post about our personal visit to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah earlier this year here. It is still a memory that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and has only been one part of our thorough disappointment of Salt Lake City, Utah. How does one disappoint 4, 7, and 14 year olds completely? Take them to a zoo where where the animals are in complete misery, let them get harassed for not being part of the local religion (cult!), and make them live in the smell of the Salt Lake. We did not continue to press on to look for good. It may be that there is some, but we are not brave enough to subject ourselves to the possibility of further disappointment and disgust! And that is why we are celebrating moving away from here! (This would be why I haven't been posting... I've been too busy packing. Maybe I'll share some of those stories later.)

I received in my email box the current Action Alert from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). I thought that I would share since it concerns the very same Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah that I ranted about earlier this spring. I don't feel so bad about sharing our experiences now.
If you want to do something to help, I suggest that you start by signing up for PETA's newsletter at http://peta.org

PETA Action Alert

The Salt Lake County Council is considering a referendum for the November ballot that would seek $65 million from taxpayers to pay for a massive makeover of the Hogle Zoo.

The Hogle Zoo has been the subject of much scrutiny and controversy in recent years. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, "A 2002 legislative audit found problems with the zoo board's decisions to spend $7.7 million on an entry plaza instead of improving animal enclosures, to let contracts to board members and to hire lobbyists at more than a half-million dollars." The legislative audit also scrutinized the sales of eight desert bighorn sheep from the Hogle Zoo to Hemker Wildlife Park in Minnesota and concluded that it was "a reasonable possibility" that the male sheep had been purchased "for individuals who operate hunting ranches."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited, warned, and penalized Hogle Zoo for violations that include failure to cage animals safely, filthy conditions, unsanitary feeding, failure to provide shelter from inclement weather, failure to provide adequate veterinary care, supplying animals with contaminated drinking water, and failure to maintain facilities in good repair. Hogle Zoo paid a $25,000 fine to settle USDA charges alleging repeated and willful violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Elephants at Hogle Zoo have died from arthritis, twisted intestines, suspected vitamin deficiency, and unknown causes. Numerous animals have died from unsafe conditions, including two chimpanzees who were shot after they escaped and mauled a keeper.

Despite claims to the contrary, the primary function of zoos is to serve as entertainment for people at the expense of imprisoned animals. Bored, cramped, lonely, and far from their natural homes, animals in zoos often resort to abnormal and self-destructive behaviors, called zoochosis. Compulsive pacing, circling, rocking, head-rolling, overgrooming, vomiting, and self-mutilation are desperate attempts to relieve frustration and unhappiness and are common sights at most zoos.

Taxpayers should not be burdened with keeping a poorly run zoo limping along at their—and animals'—expense.

Lisa Wathne
Captive Exotic Animal Specialist

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