x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Animal-rights protest staged at Dubai Zoo

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals aim to highlight what they describe as prison-like conditions.

One of the two protesters who donned prison uniforms and monkey masks before being forced to leave by police.
One of the two protesters who donned prison uniforms and monkey masks before being forced to leave by police.

DUBAI // Campaigners dressed up in monkey masks and prison outfits outside Dubai Zoo yesterday to protest against the conditions the animals are kept in. Four members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) handed out flyers and held signs that read: "Zoos: cruel animal prisons".

The demonstration outside the zoo on Jumeirah Beach Road lasted only a few minutes before police dispersed the campaigners. Ashley Fruno, a Canadian activist based in Hong Kong, described Dubai Zoo as "one of the worst" she had seen because of its "small size" and the extreme temperatures experienced by animals. She said the protesters were "trying to deliver a message of compassion". "Our ultimate goals are to see people turn away from the zoo and we want to see it closed," she said. "We want to see the animals rehabilitated and relocated to sanctuaries or returned to the wild." Col Abdullah al Ghithi, the deputy director of Dubai Police's protection and security department, said the group did not have the correct permits to stage a demonstration. "They should have taken the permission from the Government before they did this," he said. Ms Fruno said the group contacted Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality two weeks ago to request permission to stage the protest, but failed to receive a response. Dubai Municipality, which is responsible for Dubai Zoo, declined to comment, but indicated that it would review the issues behind the protest and may respond in due course. Peta has an ongoing international campaign against all zoos, which, it maintains, keep animals in cruel conditions of captivity. Jason Baker, Peta's Asia regional director, said the group had received permission to hand out information in the city on spaying and neutering animals. @Email:zconstantine@thenational.ae