I wrote to Groupon about featuring circuses, and this was my response from them:
“Groupon stands behind its decision to feature circuses. Many circuses are local businesses in need of the same traffic and revitalized customer base that other small businesses turn to Groupon to provide, and we never assume an entire industry is represented by those who have broken the law. When we run circus deals, we work with circuses that we believe provide a positive experience for our customers and that treat the animals properly. Though we run circus deals from time to time, this does not mean that we are insensitive to the need for the humane treatment of animals. We’ve even saved a zoo: http://www.grouponworks.com/case-studies/zoomars-petting-zoo.
“It’s also important to note that any merchant accepted to run a Groupon deal is subject to our thorough vetting process first, regardless of industry. We strive to work with businesses who meet our standards, and circuses are no exception. Thank you again for your concerns, and please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.”
I’m taken aback as I understand the need for small businesses gaining public exposure and new customers, but having zoos is still using animals for entertainment no matter how animals are treated. The only time I support this is if it is an animal sanctuary (which I’ve seen on Groupon before). Any thoughts on this?
I’m highly against circuses but when it comes to zoo’s my thoughts are still ‘in the middle’. I interned as a keeper once at a highly respected zoo and know that good zoo’s are often responsible for saving not only individual animals but entire species. Good zoo”s utilize animals to educate others not for entertainment purposes. They take on the responsibilities of sanctuary (a lot of animals are rescued)
Even animal sanctuaries provide tours as a manner of earning donations and teaching others about the animals. I volunteered at a tiger sanctuary and we’d give tours every day to teach people about tigers and why they shouldn’t be kept as pets.
-The birds in our zoo are not caged. They have access to the whole building to fly around (The building is transformed into a giant rainforest reaching over 50ft high, with a glass ceiling for natural sunlight and real tropical plants and trees). Most tropical birds are not ‘birds of prey’ but the one bird of prey we had at the zoo (a bald eagle on a different trail) was rescued from an injured wing and could no longer fly. We also have an endangered species of swan that are exhibited in our large zoo pond. They have the ability to fly away but choose not to (in fact we had a couple of wild endangered swans come to us!)
-Our zoo does breed animals but always made sure they have good homes. Most animals currently cannot be re-introduced into the wild but our hopes is that one day soon they will be, and we can reintroduce extremely endangered animals like tigers back into their natural habitat.
-Our zoo does not have elephants or great apes. They do not take on animals that they cannot properly care for or keep happy. The only exception to this rule are for rescued animals who have no other place to go and would die without our help. Our black bears, for example, were originally orphaned cubs. Even though it is extremely difficult to keep these black bears happy their life is a lot better with us than if they were left to die.