Parents are always looking for fun things to do during the school holidays and a Point Cook shopping centre recently advertised an ‘Animal Farm’ or petting zoo as a fun event for kids.
Petting zoos and animal nursery displays are often seen as playing an important role in educating the general public about how humans interact with animals and also provide joy and entertainment for the participants.
But not all locals are happy about the idea, with one Wyndham resident saying, “If you are wanting to take your child to the petting zoo at Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre please reconsider.
Petting zoos are awful for the animals.
Many animals are very young and taken at a young age from their mother, which is so stressful on both the mother and the baby.
They are subject to extreme distress through continuous transportation, kept in confined spaces/areas, taken to unknown and unnatural environments, loud noise, irregular feeding, limited access to water and the obvious, grabbed and poked at by hundreds of children over and over again.
RSPCA Australia advocates the adoption of compulsory standards for the welfare of animals in petting zoos and animal encounters as well as adequate monitoring and enforcement.
The RSPCA website states “Animals must be chosen for their suitability for handling and not be subjected to injury, suffering, distress or excessive disturbance.
All interactions must be supervised by competent personnel who will intervene to remove an animal whose welfare is at risk as well as promptly isolate and treat any sick or injured animals.”
Only a couple of States have developed welfare standards including;
New South Wales