Just in case you thought zoos couldn’t get any worse, the London Zoo is now charging admission for a nighttime, club-like experience with its animals. For just $25 dollars, adults are granted access to pulsating music and a bar all within a few feet of captive wildlife.
This isn’t a new thing either. News articles dating back to 2014 document these late-night parties hosted by the London Zoo and the many problems associated with them. Drunk people around wild animals… what could possibly go wrong? At one party, a patron poured beer on a tiger. Another time, a man took off his shirt and attempted to enter the penguin pool – he was stopped by security.
The zoo defends these parties saying the money raised from ticket sales, more than one million dollars in just the last couple years, goes to fund efforts such as wildlife conservation and to combat habitat loss and plastic pollution. But at what cost to the animals in the zoo?
It’s bad enough that animals imprisoned in zoos are forced to live in offensive enclosures away from their homes and families – but now they also have to endure loud music and drunk people looking to mess with them? Really?
Even people who attended a recent Zoo Night (that’s what this farce is called) had some reservations. Attendee Daniel Wood noted, “City zoos should be phased out, if you look around, it’s not a massive space. It’s quite loud, and I’m not sure how much the lion appreciates Dua Lipa.” You think?
Thankfully activists aren’t having it. About a dozen or so were protesting outside the first Zoo Night of the season (Zoo Nights is a summertime attraction apparently). Additionally a Change.org petition demanding the zoo to discontinue the after-hours parties due to animal welfare concerns has garnered over 100,000 signatures. The petition notes that in addition to beer being poured on a tiger and the fool who tried to enter the penguin pool, other fuckery has ensued including butterfies being crushed to death and patrons cracking the glass on a snake enclosure.
While animal cruelty at zoos is nothing new, Zoo Nights is just a complete unnecessary recipe for disaster. If the London Zoo truly wanted to help wild animals, it would close its doors and at long-last free the ones they’re holding prisoner to sanctuaries.
Main image source: ZSL London Zoo