On 8th September 2023, the animal rights group Animal Liberation Malta (ALM) staged a protest outside a wildlife park in Rabat, Malta, including an activist locking herself in a cage to symbolise the conditions wild animals have to endure in zoos.
In 2020, the Maltese government released a white paper on zoos, but it was withdrawn following pressure from the zoo industry, leaving the sector largely unregulated.
Tanya Fontebasso, an ALM activist, said to Newsbook Malta: “We are here to remind people that every ticket purchased is a contribution towards animal slavery. Zoos like this and others only exist because people support them. We invite everyone to rethink their choices in a more ethical way, remembering that there is nothing entertaining in seeing these majestic creatures in cages where they are not free to express their natural instincts and needs. We take note that the zoo regulations have been shelved for over two years. It is abundantly clear that there is no political will to make any changes. Thus, as animal activists we appeal to individuals to make the right choices in favour of animals by not supporting slavery. “We advocate for alternative methods of education and conservation that do not involve keeping animals in captivity.”
There are many reasons why zoos should be phased out and the entire zoo industry abolished, but the most basic one is that they exploit animals and keep them captive for their entire lives, which makes them suffer a great deal. In August 2022, Malta banned both fur farming and the production of foie gras. Although there were no companies farming fur or producing foie gras in Malta, the Legal Notice 187 2022 issued by the Ministry of Agriculture will prevent them from moving into the country from now on, after having been banned in other countries. They should do the same with zoos.