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Should States Fund Zoos and Aquariums?

Before you say you're sure about how you feel about this issue, watch the video made by the Wildlife Conservation Society which is the first item on the left column/bar.

This is sort of an unfair juxtaposition of question and video, as I don't think states should fund zoos and aquariums, period. But this particular situation is that the State of New York has already promised funds, and the zoos, aquariums and gardens who have been granted those funds have probably already spent it or much of it (that's how nonprofits work), they are now left to scramble for funds. People are being laid off or their hours are being cut. No one has admitted to cutting any corners with animals, but I can't imagine that not happening at some point.

What are your thoughts about this?

Though educating people and helping them understand the issues (i.e., domination, captivity, control over reproduction, separation of family members, etc…) so that they don't patronize businesses that exploit animals is certainly an important strategy, what about policy?

If legislators are initiating their exit from the animal exploitation business, is there a way to capitalize on this moment and expand it into a trend?

I'm not for privatization across the board, but I certainly don't think that states should fund zoos. And though I'm obviously aware that our tax dollars on a federal level go to industries that torture animals, could state dollars be a low-hanging fruit issue? Is this some kind of opportunity in disguise?

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rave reviews to the hedgehog… what a cutie! But, I say "let him go". By that I mean a gradual phasing out of "zoos" all together… The whole industry is built on abused to animals. From where/how they harvest them to where/how they dispose of them. Wild animals should not be held captive.

    But what to do about the ones here now is the practical question.

    I think the "institutionalized" sector of the "zooquariums" should revamp their charters to include policies that would forbid breeding. Event though this is one of the most profitable ventures, but it's also the costly to animals. A new bunch of babies always brings in a crowd… ticket sales go up – but in 6months the babies are passe' and get doled out like widgets. Or sold "down" to lesser zoos. I think zoos ought not treat their "guests" as commodities.

    Zoos operating like "sanctuaries". Even if they didn't breed or "harvest" more animals… there are plenty of animals throughout the world that need homes due to mishap, injury and circumstance… The "zoo" could operate more like a hospital. A place for animals to recover from the world's harm… and a place that lets the world see what peril they are in…

    If this is what you mean… It's a good idea.

    Concluding on aquariums, Flipper and videos… there's a trailer here from the soon to be released movie The Cove. The Cove focuses on disclosing the Japanese dolphin massacres. And how when they are directed into the lagoon, dealers from around the world select the specimens they want for sea-quariums… And the rest – we all know what happens to them:

    The first thing I'd like to see here in the U.S. is dismantling of the USDA's swim with the dolphin program. That the USDA is even involved in such a venture illustrates how dolphins are being abused just like any other "commodity". Oh yeah… let's free Willy too.

    January 23, 2009
  2. kim #

    Thanks Bea for the link about The Cove. I wasn't aware of the film and I am so excited that this issue will now have this kind of exposure!

    Zoos need to be closed and the remaining animals consolidated into a few sanctuary environments. Zoos are entertainment venues making profits through animal exploitation masquerading as "conservation" institutes. Period. If they can get government funding through bogus research grants, and public donations based on conservation claims, they should be able to raise enough funds for sanctuaries.

    Aquariums may be more difficult to dismantle while saving the animals – due to costs needed to sustain captive water environments.

    January 23, 2009
  3. Hi Kim… I agree about the eventual consolidation of zoos… leading to the empty cags – Oh happy day!

    But nothing illustrates the indulgences of zoos more than issues that arise during weather related emergencies. Evacuating wild animals and mammals is an expensive, monumental, and often impossible task.

    Till Feb. 20th, you can comment to The USDA about proposed legislation concerning "Handling of Animals; Contingency Plans".

    Open to all, there are submissions from PETA, HSUS, corporate, private and non-profit animal keepers…

    But best, I like this, left by Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue here in Tampa, Three pages of thoughtful reasoning is summed up:
    "Ways to effective address these issues would be to ban the breeding and trade of exotic animals, especially exotic cats."

    And I couldn't agree more.

    January 23, 2009

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