Monday, April 16, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut’s take on zoos

(c) Jurt Vonnegut

Combining two recent sets of posts, the death of the author Kurt Vonnegut and the ethics of zoos.

A drawing by Vonnegut, titled Trout’s Tomb.

- - -

On the same theme was Terence Blacker’s Zoos are the last place to keep wild animals column in Friday’s Independent.

Humanity's attitude to animals is becoming distinctly odd. The greater the anxiety for the planet, the more people seem to want to look to the natural world for a nobility and innocence which we have lost ...

“Zoos have an incredible power to inspire people,” David Field of the Zoological Society of London said at the recent launch of the £5.3m Gorilla Kingdom in Regent's Park ...

The idea that children are inspired by the sight of a captive animal seems highly dubious. To any sensible young spectator, a zoo would represent not nature or wildness but the capacity of man to control other living creatures.

Of course, money from zoos goes into conservation, and there are breeding programmes to help the survival of species in danger of extinction in the wild. But perhaps it is time to look at ways of fund-raising that do not require the suffering of animals, and of conservation that does not involve marketing rare species to gawping humans.

With all the new talk about respect for the planet, it might be an idea to start respecting the wildness of its animal inhabitants.

It’s making me think.

No comments: