Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute

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Born Free USA's Animals in Entertainment Campaign

Animals are abused and exploited in a variety of forms of "entertainment." In zoos, all manner of wild animals are trapped for life in environmentally, psychologically and socially depriving enclosures. In circuses, elephants, lions, tigers and other animals are sentenced to a lifetime of misery in order to provide a few moments of unnatural human amusement. In marine parks, dolphins and orcas are trapped in cement pools, forced to perform demeaning tricks. On movie and TV show sets, animals are used as involuntary "props" to sell products and services.

(Watch a short video in which our chief executive officer, Will Travers, talks about this campaign.)

Born Free USA strongly opposes the use of wild animals in all entertainment venues. Animals are not novelties; they have their own needs, interests, and rights — including the right to engage in their natural behaviors in their natural environment. We will not rest until animals no longer are used for human amusement and profit.

LEARN: Recent Developments

What's happening on the ground around the world to animals who are forced to perform for humans' amusement?

  • In mid-May, Born Free-rescued Tom and Misha were released into the wild after a lengthy, complicated and costly rehabilitation project off the coast of Turkey. Two years earlier they had been taken from a fetid pool at a Turkish resort where they had "starred" in a disastrously botched "swim with the dolphins" exhibit.
  • In January, the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary welcomed an abused macaque found living in horrendous conditions at the Collins Zoo in Collins, MS, after an undercover investigation by The Humane Society of the United States revealed serious animal welfare issues and public safety concerns at the facility. "Mississippi Mac" settled quickly into his new compassionate digs!
  • Yet another zoo elephant dies in yet another zoo. And yet more baby elephants are purchased by yet another zoo for a lifetime of misery.
  • A bottlenose dolphin has a long and sad life stuck inside an amusement park.
  • Tiger cubs swimming with tourists in a pool? What a disgrace.
  • Late last month an administrative law judge ruled that Sea World (in Orlando, FL) must have physical barriers between trainers and performing orca whales. That's a step in the right direction, but not so good was the judge's decision to lower the marine park's fine from $75,000 to $12,000 in the case, which stemmed from the death of a trainer in 2010. Born Free USA pushed for transparency in the hearing.

BORN FREE USA: On the Front Lines

  • In December, we applauded "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for its exclusive use of computer-generated primate imagery.
  • That same month in Toronto, city councilors voted to authorize the transfer of three elephants from their cramped and debilitating quarters at the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary in Northern California. Born Free USA's Canadian representative, Barry Kent MacKay, continues to work on the issue, which sadly has not been resolved due to continue protestations and stall tactics from zoo officials.
  • Meanwhile, Barry's also doing what he can to help Lucy, an aging and lonely elephant held cruelly captive at the Edmonton Zoo.
  • We analyzed February's Super Bowl TV ads that featured animals, and found them to be good, bad and ugly.
  • In May, reports of a harmonica-playing zoo elephant got under our skin. It's obvious to us and should be to everyone else: Chimpanzees should not be used as movie and TV props.

ACT: What You Can Do

  • Don't take your child to the zoo this summer. Watching wild animals in cages is not educational, does not benefit conservation of wildlife in the wild, and is not entertainment. Teach your children that wildlife belongs in the wild. Show them how wild animals really behave with nature programs on TV, clips on the Internet, and webcams of wild animals or rescued animals living in sanctuaries.
  • Leaving your children at home, become a Zoo Checker and help end the worst cases of suffering at zoos. Tell Born Free USA about the conditions for the animals at your local zoo and we'll do what we can — with your help, if you are willing — to end the cruelty.
  • Download our circus fliers and persuade 10 people not to attend an animal circus when it next rolls into your town.
  • Educate your community about the lifetime of misery circus animals endure. Attend local council meetings and speak out against animal circuses during the public forum and/or set up a table at local festivals or events with Born Free USA literature.
  • Choose a wildlife experience that involves observing, studying and appreciating, and help to protect wild creatures in their natural habitats. When you travel, choose hotels that do not display wild animals such as lions or dolphins and refrain from "swim with dolphin" experiences. Attend a circus that has no performing animals, such as Cirque du Soleil.

CONTRIBUTE: Bid in Our Auction This Week!

Born Free USA is auctioning off exciting and unique items to raise money for our work to save the lives of animals. Movies, books, jewelry, hats, vacations and even baseball cards are up for grabs. Check it out and remember that bidding ends at 8 p.m. EDT on Friday. All proceeds go toward Born Free USA's work for animals. Good luck!

Born Free USA offers several other ways in which you can contribute financially to our fight against animals in entertainment. Please consider doing one (or more!) of the following:

Participate in our annual Keep Wildlife in the Wild Auction, now through Friday evening. Make a one-time donation. Contribute to our Elephant Defense Fund. Sponsor an elephant. Purchase one of our plush toys.

HAVE FUN! Enter Our Photo, Essay Contests

Grab a camera and participate in our second annual Keep Wildlife in the Wild Photo Contest, or encourage a young person to enter our inaugural "How I'm Going Wild for Animals This Summer" essay contest.

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