Thursday, March 4


Here's a surprise: The USDA did a second surprise inspection at the National Zoo, and found defective bars on indoor enclosures in the Elephant House and "excessive amounts of peeling paint on the walls." The surprise is not that there'd be anything wrong with the one place the inspectors visited (this was a "focused" inspection), nor even that the USDA is seemingly doing its job of regulating the animal industry - no, the surprise is that there was already a first surprise inspection, back before Lucy Spelman resigned. Somehow I missed it - did you?

Well, it was a doozy: They found that a majority of the small primates were not being given their physical exams, "in part because the veterinarians have been preoccupied with treating older, sick animals." Again, folks, if you don't have the expertise/manpower to deal with 'em, stop dragging wild animals into situations like these. But more amazingly, a large number of active cases of irritable bowel disease in the apes, giving the animals recurrent cramps and diarrhea, were tied to the fact that the apes were being fed fish and beef when they normally eat a vegetarian diet. "Zoo spokeswoman Peper Long said that the apes have been eating fish and beef in an 'enrichment program' outside their normal diet" - OK, one more time, if you don't understand animal nutrition, don't make animals dependent on you for food, OK? Feeding vegetarian animals BEEF is not "enriching," but rather, as is obvious from the disease, "impoverishing." Enriching - who's anthropomorphizing now?

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