Tuesday, 22 May 2012

If you're worried about conservation then make more effort to conserve the creatures in your care

I don't blog much about general animal rights issues, but this article annoyed me sufficiently to change my policy for the morning. The tl:dr of it is that zoos and aquariums are getting into hosting the sort of events that you wouldn't think anyone with two brain cells to rub together would allow near wild animals. When I was younger and working on circus campaigns, I got quite into reading the work of David Taylor, an exotic animal vet* who for many years based his practice at the (thankfully now defunct) Belle Vue zoo in Manchester. I have many, many disagreements with Dr Taylor which boil down to animal rights vs animal welfare perspectives - I'm sure everyone knows that debate. I believe in getting rid of zoos and circuses, he doesn't. Nonetheless, there were times when I was sympathetic to his perspective, even as a young person without many nuances in my thinking who had gone in prepared to dislike him. One such occasion was when he talked about the firework display held adjacent to the zoo each year - the zoo and theme park had the same owners, which could have been the local authority, I don't have the book here to check, anyway the people who actually worked day-to-day with the animals thought that letting fireworks off next door was a truly shite idea but they didn't have any choice in the matter. This makes it incredibly frustrating that the actual zoo management are encouraging these things - for fucks sake, that is not conservation, anyone who has lived with domestic cats and dogs knows that certain things don't mix. Either the concern for conservation or the pretence that this is the objective is going down. The only bright spot I can see is that it might help the public see through the pretence... *The animals were exotic, he tried to be

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