PETA’s Response to the Presidential Spokesperson Mr. Lacierda’s Statement on the Manila Zoo

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been campaigning for years about the poor conditions in which animals are kept at the Manila Zoo. It is time for the government to recognize that animals should not be kept in captivity.

Animals kept in zoos are denied everything that is natural and important to them; every aspect of their lives is controlled and managed. They are housed in cages that don’t come close to the jungles, deserts, and forests that are their natural homes. They have no choice in their diets, mates, or living companions. What is a few fleeting moments of distraction for visitors means a lifetime of misery for the animals. The physical and mental frustrations of captivity often lead to abnormal, neurotic, and even self-destructive behaviors in animals, called “zoochosis.” This mental illness is marked by symptoms such as pacing, neck-twisting, head-bobbing, bar-biting, and other repetitive behaviors.

Precious government funds should not be wasted on imprisoning animals. The government should be embarrassed by their request that members of the public should donate money to the zoo. The government is making it clear that they cannot even uphold minimum standards at the Manila Zoo.

It is time for the Manila Zoo to close.

PETA’s campaign targeting the Manila Zoo – via protests, investigation reports, and education efforts – has reached countless Filipinos and tourists, resulting in thousands of letters and e-mails being sent to Mayor Lim calling for the closure of the Manila Zoo. Most people are appalled when they learn that Mali, the elephant at the Manila Zoo, was only three years old when she was torn from her home and family and shipped to the zoo. In the wild, Mali would browse and graze in home ranges of between 25,000 and 60,000 hectares. The entire Manila Zoo measures only 5.5 hectares. Mali has been in a barren and decrepit cement enclosure in the Manila Zoo for over 30 years.

And not too long ago, Sese, the lone orangutan, died of cancer that the zoo said they didn’t even know she had.

We are thankful and encouraged by the overflowing support of people who have tweeted and re-tweeted about the horrible conditions at the Manila Zoo. We are particularly thankful to Kim Atienza, Victor Basa, Anne Curtis, Karen Davila, Pepe Diokno, Denise Laurel, Rajo Laurel, Divine Lee, Xian Lim, Saab Magalona, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Bubbles Paraiso, Paula Peralejo, Sanya Smith, and Tim Yap, who are using their fame to draw attention to the suffering of animals.

For more information about our campaign, please go to Photos of Mali and other animals at the Manila Zoo are available upon request.

PETA will shortly be sending a news release on a protest outside the Manila Zoo gates to take place at 1 p.m. tomorrow, July 15th, 2011. For more information, please contact Rochelle Regodon on 0920-497-4679.