Group Says Pandas Would Live Miserable Life at Ueno Zoo
For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2008
Zoos have nothing to offer pandas or any other animals except deprivation and loneliness. Animals are relegated to a lifetime of boredom and abuse. Pandas in particular suffer in captivity. Although they are shy and shun human contact, captive pandas are besieged by a constant onslaught of visitors, and they are artificially and invasively bred. Most attempts to breed pandas in captivity have failed and have done little to propagate the species.
Although it was created to encourage habitat preservation, the panda diplomacy program has shifted its focus from protecting pandas in the wild to attracting paying customers in zoos. The program has come under intensified scrutiny as experts learn more about the detrimental effects that captivity has on pandas. In 2006,
"Pandas are an endangered species, not a commodity to be traded for human amusement," says PETA campaigner Rie Ichikawa. "In honor of the late Ling Ling--the panda who spent his entire life in a zoo, where he was denied his freedom, the right to choose his own mate, and everything that was natural and important to him--we urge Minister Koumura to declare that no more pandas will be taken from their homes and sentenced to a life at the Ueno Zoo."
PETA's letter to Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura follows. For more