The Question of Zoos

March 12, 2012

“From the dawn of consciousness, we’ve been trying to frame, in everything from creation mythology to zoological parks, the simultaneous sense of kinship with and irreparable separateness from animals that our consciousness calls to mind. . . .

Modern science, for its part, now repeatedly confirms our long intuited commonality with the creatures we continue to keep. Indeed, a number of major zoos have already closed down their elephant and chimpanzee exhibits because of the psychological trauma those animals have been shown to suffer in captivity. Major lawsuits are also being pursued against places like Sea World for ‘enslaving’ orcas and dolphins.

‘In 2013, we’re going to prosecute the first cases,’ Steven M. Wise, a lawyer and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, recently told me. ‘Their goal will be to use the latest science to help persuade state court judges that such creatures as whales and chimpanzees should be accorded common law personhood and rights.'”

Farewell to the Monkey House

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