Red-crested turaco at Belfast Zoo | Photo: Lindsay Wilson, license: CC BY 2.0

Belfast Zoo: Great Success Against Anti-Zoo Activists

Exclusive for – 22.02.2020. Author: Philipp J. Kroiß

Sighs of relief at Belfast Zoo: Not only does it look as though the impending closure the zoo faced is off the table, but many politicians have also spoken up in favour of the zoological facility.

Belfast Zoo: Great Success Against Anti-Zoo Activists

It looks like the zoo’s closure is off the table and the facility has received promises of support:

The movement by the animal rights industry was successfully fought off and a clear commitment to the zoo was also achieved.

Fans of the zoo had organised themselves

Those faithful to the zoo had gathered together under the name “Save Belfast Zoo” and had all the reason to be relieved yesterday.

This is surely true for many zoo fans across the world. The project to save the zoo had previously asked for an online petition to be signed.

And many people responded to this call.

To what extend such petitions actually impact the political decision making process is rather questionable, this one, however, is clear testimony of the support the zoo enjoys. On Twitter the news was received with according joy.

Also the zoo community had sent supporting letters too the zoo.

Does this indicate a trend change?

The last couple of weeks, months and years the animal rights industry was able to celebrate decisive victories against conservation and it’s centres in the western world. In North America this was possible through infiltration into several zoos and the largest zoo association in the country, as well as lying to political decision-makers in Canada. In Europe they were able to stop Ozeanium and until this day they pose a threat to Barcelona Zoo and it’s inhabitants, as well as to the zoo they bought in Pont-Scorff. These are current issues and the zoo community hasn’t been able to take successful action against them.

Therefore, the victory in Belfast does not indicate a trend change, but it is a ray of hope. This case shows that the widely spread method of “burying one’s head in the sand” does not accomplish anything, but that great victories can be achieved when we take on the fight for animals, their species and the zoo. At the centre of society, worldwide, there is great approval of zoological facilities: more than 700.000.000 people visit zoos each year. In Germany zoos have more visitors than the Bundesliga stadiums in the corresponding matches. Belfast has shown how this can be used on a local level.

In the future, it surely will not be enough to activate zoo fans only in the face of truly serious and existential threats. It is a dangerous game and can have a totally different outcome, as shown by the examples of Barcelona Zoo and Basel. It is then often a question of local circumstances, although it should really be the task of the numerous zoo associations, to ensure, especially on a supra-regional level, that zoological facilities do not find themselves in such trouble in the first place, from which some find a way out and others unfortunately don’t.

We need zoos like never before

Unfortunately zoos are often pilloried when they are needed like never before in history. Never have this many species been endangered – at least not since we started documenting them. Zoos have often proven that they can save species that are at the edge of extinction. We need their expertise. Society is facing alienation from nature and zoos can not only counteract it, they are also a window into the wild for a society that is moving more and more into the city. Even the much cited fight against climate change is not really possible without zoos.

If modern and accredited zoological facilities did not exist already, we would quickly have to invent them. That the animal rights industry attacks them is all the more dangerous. It is important to take this threat seriously if we want to have functioning conservation centres in a few decades time, so that this planet’s fauna might have a chance at survival. It is not possible without zoos.

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