And Why is This Even a Question?
When I was in college, I was shocked to hear that animal circuses were harmful for animals. I remember going to the circus as a kid and having fun, enjoying seeing the animals perform. I’ll admit that my roommate heading to an anti-circus demonstration made me roll my eyes.
But time has done a lot to change my mind. With the decline of animal circuses and the rise of human-only circuses, I can see that it doesn’t take captive animals to make the circus fun. And more people are getting behind the idea that forcing animals to perform and keeping them in cramped conditions is cruel.
But it’s been a hard pill to swallow. And I’m still on the fence with how I feel about zoos. Our local zoo has changed so much for the better since I was a kid, and I enjoy taking my son there. But it’s hard for me to justify animals kept on display for my entertainment.
This is the battle that all animal welfare organizations face. People want to have fun. They want to see exotic animals. Their perceptions were shaped in childhood, and it’s hard to let go of long-held beliefs. But humans need to at least consider the toll that captivity and forced interaction takes on an animal.
Latte with an Owl?
It’s not always big operations like circuses and zoos that raise animal welfare questions. In Japan, the pet café fad is in full swing and morphing to include wild and exotic animals like owls, hedgehogs and meerkats.
If you haven’t heard of this craze before, a pet café charges patrons a fee to spend time interacting with and touching the animals while they (the patrons) enjoy a beverage or snack. While it seems like a fun idea on the surface, animal welfare groups are saying there are few regulations on the industry, and that forced interaction with humans is stressful for the wild animals used in cafes.
Is it still fun to pet an owl while you sip your latte if you know you’re subjecting that antisocial animal to an unnatural and stressful behavior? It sure takes the amusement factor out of it for me.
Tell Their Story
Animals can’t tell their own stories, so humans who care about their welfare have to do it for them. It’s rough going. Animal welfare organizations are battling preconceived notions, selfishness, misinformation and plain old resistance to change. But an excellent animal welfare public relations agency can help craft the message in the most compelling way possible, raising the chances that humans will hear and take action.
At Orange Orchard, our team cares deeply about animal welfare. We take pride in giving voices to the voiceless, helping our animal welfare clients get their message out. If you want to learn more about our mission and how we can help your animal welfare organization, call us at (865) 977-1973 or contact Orange Orchard online today.