Indian animal rights advocate says zoos are genetic wastelands

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Canberra, June 3 : An Indian animal rights advocate has claimed that zoos are just genetic wastelands that have no real point in the modern world.

According to a report by Fairfax Media, the statement was made by Raj Panjwani, one of India's leading animal rights advocate, who is in New Zealand to give a lecture on animal rights at the University of Auckland.

A Delhi lawyer, Panjwani is celebrated for playing a key role in ending the ivory trade and for taking up the case of a 16-year-old schoolgirl who objected to having to dissect animals as part of her biology lessons.

Panjwani has now determined that television had ended the reason for a zoo's existence.

Zoos came into existence in an earlier age when the only way people could see live animals was to bring them and "put them in cabinets" so people could look at them, according to him.

"To me caging an animal itself is an act of cruelty in itself," said Panjwani.

Now, television nature documentaries of animals in the wild have provided that education so much better.

In his lecture, Panjwani said that zoos were guilty of severe inbreeding and most zoo animals were now incapable of living in the wild.

According to him, not only were zoos still caging animals - albeit in bigger cages - but in many cases, they were damaging the species through inbreeding and keeping the off-springs in the zoos rather than releasing them.

"You are just creating a bank that is useless, like a white elephant. Just consuming resources but they are absolutely useless," he said.

Panjwani is also fighting to close India's zoos.

"Zoos are supposed to be centres for instituting wildlife conservation. But the fact is that there is not a single animal in any Indian zoo which is fit to be rehabilitated," he said.

The only rationale for a zoo was in the case of a highly critical endangered animal and the zoo had a perfect specimen, according to Panjwani.

"It could be used to breed replacements, which should be returned to the wild as soon as possible," he added.

ANI

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