Rabbi Marc Gellman on Zoos
On the heels of its amazing cover story on gorilla slaughter, Newsweek has done it again this week with a superb web-exclusive commentary by Rabbi Marc Gellman, titled, “Tiger, Tiger Why it’s time to reconsider the whole notion of putting wild animals in zoos.”
The piece is incredibly interesting, especially when you consider Gellman’s perspective. Gellman, a Rabbi, uses moving vignettes from his grandfather (a zookeeper) throughout his article, which is one of the most thoughtful pieces I’ve read in ages on the issue of animals in captivity. Here’s just one interesting bit:
“He would patiently explain to me that they did not want to be in their cages but that we put them there so that little boys like me could see up close what they look like, how they move and what sounds they make. Grandpa explained to me that this was a deal we humans made with the wild animals of the world. We capture and display some of them so that people would feel something for them and protect the wild animals that were not in cages. I asked grandpa if he thought the deal was fair. He thought and said, ‘It’s a good deal for us, and not such a good deal for them.’ I still think grandpa was right.”
Amazing . . .
You can check out the full piece here.