Protests are being planned outside a North Somerset zoo farm over Easter weekend to highlight concerns for captive animals.
The Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) is calling on people to boycott their local zoo and choose another activity for their holiday and to spend their money elsewhere.
CAPS is running “zoo awareness weekend”, a series of peaceful protests across the country outside well-known zoos, where supporters will raise awareness of the plight of animals held in captivity.
Tomorrow activists from the Bristol Animal Rights Collective will demonstrate outside Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, from 10am.
Liz Tyson, director of CAPS, said: “We created zoo awareness weekend to encourage people to really think about what they are putting their time and money towards.
“We hope that the event this year will shed light on a number of issues surrounding the zoo industry and that the public will get involved in supporting our cause.
“Wild animals belong in the wild, and we believe that their right to a natural life greatly outweighs any desire we might have to view them as subjects behind bars.”
But Anthony Bush, who owns and runs Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm with his wife Christina, said staff would call ask the police to move protesters on if they do come.
He said that a similar event last year caused havoc for the public and caused an accident, as well as leading to traffic queuing back on to the road.
Mr Bush said: “The zoo is open to the public as usual and everything here is open to public inspection. People will see that the protests they are making against zoos don’t apply to us.
“I believe in animal rights and would be standing with them if I believed in what they are saying.”
CAPS is opposed to keeping animals in captivity for entertainment. The organisation raises awareness about issues and campaigns for change through investigation, research and education.
There is a history of antagonism between Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and CAPS.
In 2009 an investigator from CAPS managed to work undercover at the zoo farm for six weeks.
She claimed to have witnessed acts of animal cruelty and that it was breeding tigers for use in the Great British Circus, owned by Martin Lacey.
But the farm was cleared of all 16 allegations of animal cruelty following an investigation by North Somerset Council, which licenses the zoo, and two Secretary of State zoo inspectors.
The investigators described the allegations as “grossly unfair” and said the animals were generally well cared for by experienced, dedicated people.