For Immediate Release:
9 January 2018

Vice Chancellor Commits to Choosing Alternative ‘Stress Less Week’ Events

Canberra – After learning from PETA that petting zoos contribute to a cruel cycle of breeding, abandoning, and killing animals, the University of Canberra has pledged not to host such exhibits on campus in the future. In an e-mail to PETA written on behalf of the institution’s vice chancellor, Executive Support Officer Sharon Da Silva said, “The University acknowledges your concerns and will in future look for alternate activities for our students as part of ‘Stress Less Week’.”

“We’re delighted that the University of Canberra has decided against allowing petting zoos on campus again – sparing animals the stress of travel, confinement, and handling,” says PETA Corporate Liaison Emily Rice. “While we understand that students need to de-stress, such exhibits cause the animals involved nothing but stress. There are many fabulous, animal-free relaxation activities the university can now look forward to hosting, and we commend it for its responsible decision.”

Animals – especially timid prey animals such as rabbits and chinchillas – generally don’t like being handled. In petting zoos, they have no choice in the matter, and the crowds and noise on ly add to their discomfort. They also spend a great deal of time being carted from one event to another, often in small cages, deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them. This causes suffering and frustration which can, over time, lead to abnormal, neurotic, and even self-destructive behaviour.

Experts indicate that petting zoos are also a danger to humans as hotbeds of serious pathogens, including E coli and salmonella. The area surrounding the cages can be teeming with bacteria. Infections can spread through direct or even indirect animal contact and can, in some cases, be fatal.

PETA’s correspondence with the University of Canberra is available upon request. For more information, please visit