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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i've been stuck on this one for a while...

what do other vegans think about zoos? the first thing that comes to my mind is that animals are kept captive in an artificial environment, most of them born into captivity. Sure they try to recreate their environment some, but it's incredibly small and has tons of human interference. Polar bears would probably travel hundreds of miles a season and instead they are confined to a 200' area. I want to hate zoos...but...just can't. For one, I know they provide incredibly good health care for their animals, even if it's only because they are protecting their investment. I've known many people who worked on a huge variety of animals from the local zoo.

Also, zoos have such a positive image in american society. It's like the apple pie of family entertainment. If I dislike zoos it makes me unpatriotic lol. most of the omnis I know understand and support me being veg*n for ethical reasons (and health), but I feel like if I told half of them I hated zoos I'd probably get slapped at a minimum.

other thoughts? anyone go to zoos or take their kids there?
 

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Although it can be tempting to visit a zoo because animals are so interesting to watch, I stay away. My main reason is that zoos perpetuate the idea that animals are our property, to do with whatever we want. Zoos are created for the sole purpose of profit. And as such, the animals' rights and welfare are compromised. Most zoos give the animals too little space and not enough mental or physical stimulation. Some zoos do worse than that.

Boycotting zoos isn't difficult. It's really not a big deal. I'm guessing the average person goes to the zoo once a year, if that. So avoiding that one incident is not difficult. If you feel uncomfortable telling people why, then just say you have other plans or that you're allergic to everything. Trust me, it's no big deal. No one will call you a "unpatriotic" for boycotting the zoo.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Although it can be tempting to visit a zoo because animals are so interesting to watch, I stay away. My main reason is that zoos perpetuate the idea that animals are our property, to do with whatever we want. Zoos are created for the sole purpose of profit. And as such, the animals' rights and welfare are compromised. Most zoos give the animals too little space and not enough mental or physical stimulation. Some zoos do worse than that.

Boycotting zoos isn't difficult. It's really not a big deal. I'm guessing the average person goes to the zoo once a year, if that. So avoiding that one incident is not difficult. If you feel uncomfortable telling people why, then just say you have other plans or that you're allergic to everything. Trust me, it's no big deal. No one will call you a "unpatriotic" for boycotting the zoo.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Although it can be tempting to visit a zoo because animals are so interesting to watch, I stay away. My main reason is that zoos perpetuate the idea that animals are our property, to do with whatever we want. Zoos are created for the sole purpose of profit. And as such, the animals' rights and welfare are compromised. Most zoos give the animals too little space and not enough mental or physical stimulation. Some zoos do worse than that.

Boycotting zoos isn't difficult. It's really not a big deal. I'm guessing the average person goes to the zoo once a year, if that. So avoiding that one incident is not difficult. If you feel uncomfortable telling people why, then just say you have other plans or that you're allergic to everything. Trust me, it's no big deal. No one will call you a "unpatriotic" for boycotting the zoo.
This.
 

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Zoos ..

The interests of the animals are in confict with the interests of anyone and every one's interests that the interests of the animal are in conflict with.

The animals can't do much about this so tough titty to them.

Same applies to farms. I think.
 

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The concept of zoos is troubling because of the profit they make from visitors and members. It is unethical to profit from animals, even if you take good care of them. Sure some zoos appear to care solely about the animals but there is a dirty side to this industry. How do they obtain animals? Some are stolen from the wild, most are traded among other zoos. Baby animals are a HUGE attraction at zoos, they purposely overbreed because it brings in customers, as a result the animals are traded and sold to other facilities. Sure there are endangered species that are being cared for by increasing population, but this can be done at sanctuaries much better than at zoos. Sanctuaries are the solution, if you want to see animals and give money to help them visit a place like Animal Acres.
 

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I don't like zoos, I like animals and think they are cute so I wish I could be close to them without visiting a zoo.
if that makes any sense lol
 

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Not a fan. Ever since I was a kid, zoos always made me sad. I didn't like seeing animals locked up in small cages.
 

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Every time I went to a zoo before going vegan I'd cry because looking at their faces behind bars or chained up or in tiny enclosures was just too much for me.

It's slavery in my opinion.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Although it can be tempting to visit a zoo because animals are so interesting to watch, I stay away. My main reason is that zoos perpetuate the idea that animals are our property, to do with whatever we want. Zoos are created for the sole purpose of profit. And as such, the animals' rights and welfare are compromised. Most zoos give the animals too little space and not enough mental or physical stimulation. Some zoos do worse than that.

Boycotting zoos isn't difficult. It's really not a big deal. I'm guessing the average person goes to the zoo once a year, if that. So avoiding that one incident is not difficult. If you feel uncomfortable telling people why, then just say you have other plans or that you're allergic to everything. Trust me, it's no big deal. No one will call you a "unpatriotic" for boycotting the zoo.
I agree with all of this except for how much we visit the zoo. Last year we got a family pass for the year and went about 2-3 times a week. My son goes crazy for the zoo.
Now that I am vegan I am very thoughtful about this, but feel bad taking this "fun thing" away from my kids. They love animals, and I am not sure where to take them to see animals. Farms- no. Safari- no. Circus- no. Conservatories- no.
I was thinking about a trip to Farm Sanctuary this year, but it would only be a one time thing. How can I expose them to many different animals so that they can grow up loving them and not wanting to eat them? videos don't do the real animals justice.
 

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Originally Posted by mollycakes View Post

I was thinking about a trip to Farm Sanctuary this year, but it would only be a one time thing. How can I expose them to many different animals so that they can grow up loving them and not wanting to eat them? videos don't do the real animals justice.
I don't think they have so many cows, chickens, turkeys or pigs in zoos, and I doubt people really learn to extend caring from one type of animal to the other. People already compartmentalize animals and e.g. care about dolphins but don't give a **** about chickens -- wouldn't zoos just fit into this same compartmentalization, so that you might, at best, get some kids to care about the giraffe but then see cows as "food animals"?

Moreover, seeing animals in a very one-sided way, completely in humans' terms, in captivity, is just teaching this privileged attitude that animals are always there for us to entertain us or to provide us with an interesting display or whatever.

I think learning to be respectful towards animals involves learning the important lesson that wild animals come and go as they please, and we humans have to accept that. We might like to see the elephant up close, but if the elephant doesn't agree to that in his/her natural environment, we can't make demands about it and throw the elephant into captivity.

I would be confident in guessing that the vast majority of people who have gone veg*n due to exposure to animals haven't done so because of zoos, but because of growing up with cats and dogs or other companion animals, forming close personal bonds with them, observing their daily mental lives up close, etc. Zoos have none of that. Rescued animals from shelters do (although of course no animal should be taken in just as an educational tool, without the resources and complete commitment for the animal).

Okay, this comment wasn't supposed to be this long, I dunno what happened.
 

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Originally Posted by luvourmother View Post

It is unethical to profit from animals, even if you take good care of them.
I don't agree with that.

Running a profitable racket off animals usually results in unethical treatment, but it doesn't always have to- sometimes it can be done to help the animals.

A business has to make enough money to stay in business, even farm sanctuaries- whether that money is from visitors paying fees, or donations. It would be great if all places like that could be run as non-profits, but ultimately those kinds of establishments require start-up capital, and investors (grubby creatures as they are) need to see returns on investment. I don't think it's safe, or in the animals' best interests, to handicap ourselves by relying exclusively on donations (which aren't really a very reliable revenue stream).

I could imagine a sanctuary franchise that rescues animals, and establishes locations around the country to give ordinary people access to those animals for an entrance fee comparable to zoos in order to stay in business, and opens more locations to allow them to rescue more animals and give the public better exposure.

I don't believe money is the root of all evil- it's just a tool- it's what people do with it that matters. Is it usually used for evil? Maybe. Does it always have to be? I don't think so.

I understand the OP's sentiments on zoos. I don't think that they're an entirely broken or inherently immoral business concept, but in practice I think it might be very difficult to run one morally and still turn any profit. The sheer amount of resources the animals would need to live a genuinely happy, healthy, and more "natural" life would seem to make it implausible without government backing.
 

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Very interesting point, vepurusg
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I don't think they have so many cows, chickens, turkeys or pigs in zoos, and I doubt people really learn to extend caring from one type of animal to the other. People already compartmentalize animals and e.g. care about dolphins but don't give a **** about chickens -- wouldn't zoos just fit into this same compartmentalization, so that you might, at best, get some kids to care about the giraffe but then see cows as "food animals"?
Great point; and I think that's something that would need to change about zoos to make them more legitimate institutions of moral education. They'd have to move a lot closer to where sanctuaries are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I think learning to be respectful towards animals involves learning the important lesson that wild animals come and go as they please, and we humans have to accept that.
That's an interesting idea. How do you feel about the more open wildlife parks?
 

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Originally Posted by PTree15 View Post

Not a fan. Ever since I was a kid, zoos always made me sad. I didn't like seeing animals locked up in small cages.
I know many zoos have "habitats" now instead of cages but it is still a restriction in living space and being forced into dealing with people who are visitors and staff (and the staff may be very caring but it's still enforced contact).
I know people talk about zoos being important for "saving" certain species from extinction but if we've contaminated the environment so much they have no natural out of zoo living place in the world it doesn't make much sense to keep breeding them--is there supposed to come a day when the environment is so much better they will have a place live outside of zoos? Sadly, it doesn't look much like that to me.
 

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I only go to free zoos so I don't have to give them money.
 

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sevenseas- I agree with you. And them seeing an elephant in Buffalo, NY is about as natural as them being able to try a starfruit in Buffalo, NY. Both of them had to endure something to get here, and it can't be good.
I am definitely not renewing my membership- I decided that months ago, but can I prevent say, my mother in law from taking them and understanding why? probably not.

One thing that gets me about the zoo- or similar places, it the petting zoo. That stuff makes me cringe now. All those aggressive kids smacking and poking the poor animals.
I kept my kid home from preschool when the aquarium's "Touch Tank" came in a couple weeks ago. I just couldn't be okay with a bunch of toddlers manhandling those poor defenseless creatures carried around in a styrofoam cooler all day. I spent a small part of the day at home showing him about tide pools online instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by nwsailorgirl View Post

I know people talk about zoos being important for "saving" certain species from extinction but if we've contaminated the environment so much they have no natural out of zoo living place in the world it doesn't make much sense to keep breeding them--is there supposed to come a day when the environment is so much better they will have a place live outside of zoos? Sadly, it doesn't look much like that to me.
yea I agree completely...I took a course in college on environmentalism and ecosystems etc, and the instructor would drone on all week about all the laws and efforts of advocacy groups to save the california condor or w/e animal it was that week from extinction. All I remember is how every time I kept thinking about how we could do much simpler tasks to save larger quantities of animals that won't inevitably be extinct soon anyways. Somehow if they are near extinction their life is now valuable, and when they're everywhere we don't even swerve the car to avoid hitting them. A life is a life.

OK well this is pretty much what I thought everyone would say. Just was weird because zoos have this warming facade about them.

btw some zoos are non-profit, not that it changes what they do, but they aren't all in it for the $$.
 
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