Friday, February 23


As you know, I'm against humans entrapping or enslaving any wild animals whatsoever. But institutions based on the housing and display of wild animals within urban areas deserve special condemnation. In addition to being cruel to the animals in question, these situations also multiply the danger to humans and other animals.

This becomes especially poignant when the danger is suddenly manifest, and the victims are children. Within a couple days, a five-year-old girl was killed by "an out-of-control team of horses" in a rodeo parade (the same one in which the previous year the mayor and his wife were injured by runaway horses) and a six-year-old girl in a zoo was killed by a tiger she was standing next to for a photo-op. It's easy to fault the particulars here - apparently the rodeo parade town has a problem controlling its horses, and tigers are not good subjects to pose with in front of flash cameras (note, though, that this was a circus tiger, one you'd expect to be used to flashing lights), but that dodges the issue: These events will continue to happen as long as we remain in denial about the arrogant idiocy of enslaving and parading wild animals in close quarters, as though we've somehow beaten nature. Obviously, as these cases show, nature bites back, big time.

UPDATE 2/25: It's not just kids, of course: A 140-pound jaguar mauled a zoo keeper to death at the Denver Zoo on Saturday and was shot dead by zoo staffers.

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