Animal Extremism

There are many well-meaning people who want to do the best thing for animals and one of the things they want to do is get rid of zoos and other animal reserves. I understand that there are situations in which animals are mistreated, many circuses are a good example. I was reading a post on Facebook by the Woodland Park Zoo here in Seattle about their baby Humboldt Penguins that will be joining the adult penguins soon, and one comment caught my attention:

I know this woman is entirely well-meaning, and I didn’t respond out of not wanting to be taken the wrong way on the zoo’s Facebook page, but I want people to think about things like this a little more. It would be more depressing for these beautiful baby penguins to be eaten alive by a killer whale or Leopard seal. Instead, these penguins, which have a natural affinity for and no fear of, human beings (as they have no predators on land) get hand fed all the fish they can eat and are never separated from their parents who are also well fed. Our zoos are generally run and staffed by people who will do anything for the well being of the animals housed there. That doesn’t mean that I want all animals to be removed from the wild, but we can have animals available for us to see and learn from without it being inherently cruel as many think. Please think the entire situation through before reflexively thinking that we should set all the animals free. Oh, and by the way, though many penguins spend as much as 3/4 of their lives in the water, they rarely swim farther than about a half mile from their land habitat.


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