The owner of a “zooquarium” in Essex has stated that the rising expense of living may force him to put his animals to sleep.
At Sealife Adventure in Southend, Phillip Miller keeps tropical fish, monkeys, meerkats, and other creatures that all need a lot of resources to survive.
The annual cost of electricity at the facility has tripled, from £240,000 to over £750,000, he told ITV News. He claimed that if the zooquarium was shut down to make money, it would be too expensive to keep the animals.
“All these animals have to keep warm – or cold – or a combination of both, and it’s on 24/7, seven days a week… And they have to be fed, so it’s a massive bill to maintain,” he stated.
They would either need to be put to death or relocated, according to Miller. When the interviewer mentioned that finding homes for the animals could be challenging, Miller replied, “That’s the trouble. All the other zoos are going to be in the same boat, I’d imagine.”
Zoos suffering with high living costs
The persistent cost of living issue in the UK isn’t just affecting Miller’s Zoo.
Another Sussex zoo stated last month that the high cost of energy may have an impact on animal wellbeing. “It all comes down to their welfare… We have to be able to keep them at their natural temperatures to sustain their exotic bodies,” Mark Kenward, of Drusillas Wildlife Park in East Sussex, told ITV.
Kenward also claimed that his energy costs had increased by 70% and were probably going to rise even further.
Jamie Christon, the zoo’s owner, recently stated that Chester Zoo’s yearly energy costs are expected to increase from £1.5 million to $3 million. “I can’t put a woolly jumper on a Komodo dragon – I have to maintain the temperatures these animals thrive in,” he told iPaper.
“I have large, very well-heated or very well-ventilated habitats around the zoo… Those animals and plants have to be maintained whether it is cold, hot, wet or dry.”
While some people still have money today, he continued, they are being cautious about how they spend it.
“Next year they probably won’t have that money,” he added.
Campaigners have long drawn attention to the negative effects zoos have on animal welfare, and the current predicament these animals are in may serve as another evidence that they don’t belong there.
Zoo animals are confined to unnatural environments and have little control over their living arrangements, mating habits, or daily routines.
In contrast to beings with a right to freedom, they are frequently viewed as living exhibitions that are subject to the whims of the people who “own” them.
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