AfA calls on Indonesia to end the use of animals as photo props and in performances in zoos and safari parks

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Letter Addressed To:

Her Excellence Siti Nurbaya Bakar
Minister of Environment & Forestry
Ministry of Environment & Forestry Republic of Indonesia
Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Blok I Lt. 3
Jalan Gatot Subroto – Senayan
Jakarta 10270
Indonesia
Sitinurbaya_bakar@yahoo.co.id
menlhk@dephut.go.id
sitinurbaya.bakar@gmail.com

March 2017


Your Excellence,

We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals Coalition, representing international animal welfare and conservation organisations. We express our deep concerns with regards to the use of animals as “photo props” and in performances in zoos and safari parks in Indonesia.

On the 25th of February, footage was circulated of two lion cubs being used as photo props and interacting with a child at Taman Safari Prigen, Pasuruan (East Java). The Asia for Animals Coalition is strongly opposed to such exploitation of animals for entertainment and in recent weeks, there has been mounting media coverage and exposés of the inadequate care and treatment of animals in a number of zoos and safari parks throughout Indonesia. Our member organisations have received an increasing number of complaints from international tourists. The abusive and exploitative treatment of animals used as photo props and in animal performances at these facilities is of concern, given the techniques known to be used to control the animals during training and performances, and given the significant risk this poses to public safety. Asia for Animals Coalition members have witnessed first hand staff at Taman Safari in Bali struggling to control a lion cub being exploited in this way.

The animals used as ‘photo props’ are often orphaned when they are young, housed in small, barren enclosures and released from their confinement only for a few minutes when they are used for photo props and in performances, and discarded when they become less ‘cute’.

Furthermore, the use of wild animals in such a manner also contributes to the desensitisation of society to animal violence, as viewers, including young children, are taught to regard animals simply as objects to be used and abused for entertainment. This abusive treatment of animals serves no educational value and also leads to a negative international image of Indonesia, with tourists returning to their home countries reporting cases of animal abuse rather than highlighting the natural beauty and the rich cultural experiences that Indonesia is so famous for.

Globally we are seeing an ever-growing number of countries banning the use of wild animals in performances, with over 50 countries around the world already having passed progressive laws. Indonesia’s on-going support of animal exploitation in the name of entertainment in circuses and shows at zoos and safari parks is therefore in contravention to the trend we are seeing around the world where there is growing concern for animal welfare and recognition of the wholly unacceptable abusive techniques relied on for human-animal interactions and animal performances at such venues.

Whilst we applaud the Indonesian government for its pledge to standardise captive animal care through national regulation to better protect animal welfare, on behalf of our members globally, we appeal for you to join the international movement against the use and abuse of animals in performances and as photo props, and to take strong and immediate action to put an end to this exploitation that poses grave risks to animal welfare and public safety.

We urge you to work with local and international groups to develop strengthened laws safeguarding animal welfare nationwide, ensuring that wildlife facilities serve as venues of education and to promote conservation of wildlife, not animal exploitation and abuse.

Sent on behalf of the following organisations:

  1. Animal Guardians
  2. Animal People
  3. Animals Asia Foundation
  4. ACRES
  5. Blue Cross of India
  6. Change for Animals Foundation
  7. Elephant Aid International
  8. Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
  9. Humane Society International
  10. Philippine Animal Welfare Society
  11. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  12. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hong Kong
  13. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Sarawak, Malaysia
  14. World Animal Protection

Copied to:

President Joko Widodo
President Republik Indonesia
Istana Negara
Jalan Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10110
Indonesia
president@ri.go.id
jokowi@gmail.com

Drs. H. Muhammad Jusuf Kalla
Wakil President Republik Indonesia
Jl Medan Merdeka Selatan 6 Kel, Gambir
Jakarta Pusat. 10110
Indonesia

Drs. Setya Novanto, Ak
Chairman of House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat)
Gedung Nusantara III
Jalan Jenderal Gatot Subroto
Jakarta 10270
Indonesia

Executive Director
WAZA Executive Office
IUCN Conservation Centre
Rue Mauverney 28
CH_1196 Gland
Switzerland
cliff.hannan@waza.org
secretariat@waza.org

Mr. Bambang Hendroyono
Secretary General
Ministry of Environment & Forestry Republic of Indonesia
Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Blok I Lt. 3
Jalan Gatot Subroto – Senayan – Jakarta – Indonesia – 10270
banghen_11@yahoo.co.id
datakonservasi@gmail.com

Mr. Rasio Ridho Sani
Director General of Law Enforcement
Ministry of Environment & Forestry Republic of Indonesia
Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Blok I Lt. 3
Jalan Gatot Subroto – Senayan – Jakarta – Indonesia – 10270
rasiosani@yahoo.com

Mr. Bambang Dahono Adji
Director
Directorate of Conservation & Biodiversity, Ministry of Forestry
Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Bld Block VII 7th Floor
Jalan Gatot Subroto
Senayan
Jakarta 10270
Indonesia
ditkkh@gmail.com
pemolaan@yahoo.com

Dr H Rahmat Shah
President
Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (PKBSI)
Jl. Harsono RM
No 10 Ragunan
Jakarta, 12550
Indonesia
pkbsi@izaa.org

Tony Sumampau
Secretary General
Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (PKBSI)
Jl. Harsono RM
No 10 Ragunan
Jakarta, 12550
Indonesia
tsumampau@hotmail.com


(Featured image: white tiger cub used as photo prop at Taman Safari. Image credit LWYang, CC BY 2.0)

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The Asia For Animals (AfA) Coalition is composed of 16 well-known and respected animal welfare organisations that have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia. We are committed to providing support to organisations to help with their campaigns to tackle some of the most pressing animal welfare concerns in the region. Click to see author's profile.

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