Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoos (CLAZ) — (www.zooanimals.org).
The organization started in the ’90s by 13-year-old activist Justin Barker — has relaunched today to improve conditions for zoo animals and disrupt the zoo industry.
“Thousands of animals are living in cruel, antiquated conditions in accredited US zoos,” says Barker, founder and campaign director at CLAZ. “The zoo industry regularly misleads the public about its animal welfare and conservation efforts, claiming to help species when in fact they continue to extract animals from the wild and their ‘Species Survival Programs’ are only intended to maintain captive populations.”
Citizens Lobbying for Animals in Zoos will:
- Expose animal neglect in accredited zoos
- Challenge the zoo industry’s doublespeak about animal welfare and conservation
- Drive systemic change through legislation, pressure tactics and direct actions
- Facilitate collaborations with conservationists, politicians, and zoo leaders
“Building a modern zoo means parting ways with the current Victorian-era business model and starting from scratch,” says Barker. “Zoos must put animals first and utilize modern technologies to connect visitors with wild species while directly participating in field conservation efforts.”
Free Zoo Cruelty
CLAZ is developing a ‘zoo animal bill of rights’ and has established guidelines to help zoos reimagine their mission, improve conditions for animals and gain the public’s trust as organizations that are genuinely committed to animals.
A whistleblower hotline ( https://www.zooanimals.org/whistleblower ) is available for zoo employees and visitors to anonymously report animal neglect they witness at zoos.
Barker is best known for raising a quarter-million dollars to relocate black bears, Brutus and Ursula, to Folsom Zoo Sanctuary and closing the Royer Park Zoo as a teenager. The campaign put animal rights and the power of young people in the national spotlight and was featured in media outlets all over the world. Teen People Magazine named Barker one of “20 Teens Who Will Change the World.”