LETTERS | Zoo debate: Animal activists in Mbombela get it wrong

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I am an extreme animal lover (I drive zig-zag on a rain-soaked road to avoid frogs), but not an activist. But if I was, I would have been ashamed to be associated with the animal activists in Mbombela.

The reason being the utter trivial points raised by them on Carte Blanche (M-Net, October 4) in opposing a R7 million new zoo on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park.

I quote: “We, as humans, have no right to intensely stare at caged animals.” Thus insinuating many things, the most obvious, “psychological animal abuse”. If this was remotely possible, then how should all other animal care centres such as SPCAs, etc., house their animals?

The zookeeper made a valid point: they are ostensibly catering for the less fortunate who cannot afford the exorbitant pricing structure of the Kruger National Park and other game reserves.

The animal rights activists countered with an opposing claim: the Kruger National Park does have reduced tariff packages designed for larger tourist groups such as schoolchildren.

That may well be, but for most ordinary family groups, a weekend or longer trip to any of the many “dream camps” remains out of reach.

And the zookeeper had the last laugh: true to tradition, he took a leaf out of the ANC’s handbook by inviting bus and taxi loads of “supporters”; a move designed to prove to Carte Blanche, which was on site to conduct an interview; their solidarity with this new development. Not surprisingly, T-shirts, food and promises of jobs were dished out.

A seemingly serious animal rights abuse situation was instantly turned into a farcical human rights abuse issue, with confrontation a very real possibility. Who knows?

The fact is that irrespective of the defending lawyer in support of the zoo that was “found out” by Carte Blanche insofar as the issue of permits regarding wild animals is concerned, round one went to the zookeeper, with the first of many court cases set for March 2021.

One practice I definitely don’t agree with is the issuing of permits for wild animals on the critically endangered list, then summarily having the animals sterilised. In this instance, seven wild dogs.

This is improper, immoral and probably underhand.

Someone needs to be held accountable, but unfortunately, for all the good that animal activists across South Africa are doing, this lot in Mbombela is going the wrong way.

Concentrate on the underhand issuing of permits and refrain from making trivial statements, as clearly money in this instance is not a problem.

Morality, and subsequently vision are.



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The editor reserves the right to edit all publications. All letters must contain the writer's full name, address and contact number for record purposes or they will not be published. Well written topical letters under 225 words will take precedence.

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