Friday, May 13


"The group that accredits U.S. zoos and had been reviewing elephant care at the Lincoln Park Zoo expanded its investigation to the entire facility Thursday after learning three monkeys had died this week," according to the Washington Post. "A camel and two gorillas also have died at the zoo since October. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also investigating, department spokeswoman Amy Spillman said. The zoo and its president, Kevin Bell, have come under intense scrutiny by animal rights groups after a 36-year-old African elephant was euthanized May 1 shortly after being moved to Salt Lake City." The article adds that "Bell offered his resignation Thursday," but it sounds as though it's not expected he'll be taken up on the offer.

UPDATE 5/16: The story of the "troubled" Lincoln Park Zoo is gaining steam, as the zoo only saved a gibbon from death by amputating its arm after the ape broke it reaching through an ill-designed mesh barrier, and hundreds of people continue to protest at the zoo. Meanwhile, this has inspired a predictable "think piece," Have zoos outlived their usefulness? which at least presents the anti-captivity argument via someone other than PETA (as well as PETA). But once again we get this:

    "Zoos are essential for the public," said Eric Peters, an associate professor of ecology and environmental sciences at Chicago State University. "When well-designed and well-executed zoos allow the public to see these animals up close in as natural an environment as possible, that makes people care more about protecting the animals' original environments," he said.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Show me the stats on this. What studies have been done? I've been looking for them and haven't found one study to support this claim. If you know of one, please feel free to send it in. In the meantime, I will continue to maintain that seeing animals in cages reinforces the culture's view that animals are expendable objects put here for our pleasure or diversion. After all, there are zoos all over the place now, and animal habitats are disappearing faster than ever. Man, just imagine how bad it would be if we didn't have zoos to make people care so much!

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