Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute

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Born Free USA’s Animals in Entertainment Campaign

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Keep Wildlife in the Wild

"I am asking you to help keep wildlife in the wild because our children and their children's children deserve the same privilege of learning to appreciate and respect all the magnificent creatures who cohabitate this beautiful planet." — Gregory Jbara, actor who won a Tony Award for his role in “Billy Elliot the Musical”

ISSUE: Circuses, Zoos and Resorts Profit Shamelessly at Animals’ Expense


In the wild, female elephants spend their lives together in matriarchal herds — grandmothers, mothers, granddaughters — walking for miles and miles a day … together. In zoos, elephants languish, restricted to comparably miniscule environments, sometimes alone, far removed from their natural habitat and deprived of the environmental, physical and social stimulation they need. And elephants aren't the only ones — large carnivores such as African lions or tigers pace aimlessly back and forth, crippled by the boredom of unnatural captivity.

Wild animals deserve better. And the situation is not unique to America. We are pushing zoos in Toronto and Edmonton, for instance, to make the compassionate decision to move their elephants to one of the two stellar elephant sanctuaries here in America (PAWS in California or The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee). They should act now in the interest of animal welfare.

And all zoos in the United States should follow suit! Marine mammals are not immune from life in unnatural incarceration. Dolphins — who should be frolicking and traveling in groups throughout wide open ocean waters — are held captive in miserable conditions in America and other countries, to serve as spectacles for tourists. In just the past year, Born Free has rescued and is rehabilitating two dolphins who had been kept in a filthy swimming pool in Turkey. We are also working to stop the importation of dolphins into a dire, languid cement exhibit at a Las Vegas resort, where an estimated 75 percent of animals die unnaturally!

Performing animals — subjected to whips and sharp bullhooks in circus training and live acts — deserve better. Evidence shows elephants in loathsome circuses are forced to perform unnatural, demeaning tricks. They are shipped around the country, chained for hours, even days on end. It's not entertainment to compel elephants to stand on their heads or tigers to leap through rings of fire.

Elephants, lions, tigers and other magnificent animals — even polar bears — are sentenced to lifetimes of misery just to provide a few moments of human amusement. Wild animals, including threatened and endangered species, are not here to entertain us in circuses, zoos and resorts. They are not props, they are not décor, they are not ambience.

Born Free USA is working toward a day when wild animals are no longer cruelly exploited for entertainment. Please help us as we work tirelessly to Keep Wildlife in the Wild

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  • 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.
  • Write to your state legislators urging them to pass legislation prohibiting cruel training devices, such as bullhooks, electric prods and chains, used in animal circuses. Please send us a copy of your letter(s). Born Free USA has model ordinances to guide you; contact us for help!
  • 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.
  • Family activity: Attend a circus that has no performing animals, such as Cirque du Soleil.

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