Why Do We Need Zoos? A Follow-Up

After the death of the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo (a decision made by Zoo officials after a young child fell into the gorilla's enclosure), I posted "Why do we need zoos?" There I wrote, "If zoos are the best we can offer animals so magnificent as tigers and gorillas, then it's time to recognize zoos as sad vestiges of a past when animals were broadly considered nothing other than objects for labor and shallow entertainment."

I've heard from several readers in response to that post, most strongly supportive of my comments. One of those readers just sent me an article from The Guardian, "Buenos Aires zoo to close after 140 years: 'Captivity is degrading'".

According to Buenos Aires' mayor the City's zoo, long one of the City's major tourist attractions (although in decline, with accompanying bad publicity) will its move its 2,500 animals to nature reserves; the animals too old or frail to handle relocation will live out their lives on the zoo grounds. The Mayor also announced the planned 2017 transition of the 44-acre site into an eco-park, "a place where children can learn how to take care of and relate with the different species."

Said Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta: "This situation of captivity is degrading for the animals." I applaud such a clear ethical statement.