June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month, but we don’t think this is any reason to celebrate.
Aquariums and marine-mammal facilities are built on the suffering of intelligent, social beings who are denied everything that is natural and important to them. In the wild, orcas and members of other dolphin species work cooperatively, form complex relationships, communicate using distinct dialects, and swim up to 100 miles every day. In aquariums and marine parks, they are forced to swim in circles in small barren concrete tanks and compelled to perform meaningless tricks for a reward of dead fish.
The zoo community regards the animals it keeps as commodities, and animals are regularly bought, sold, borrowed, and traded without any regard for established relationships. Zoos breed animals because the presence of babies draws zoo visitors and boosts revenue.
Proponents of zoos like to claim that zoos protect species from extinction, but they neglect less popular species that also need to be protected. While confining animals to zoos keeps them alive, it does nothing to protect wild populations and their habitats.
You don’t have to take it from us, though! Read these quotes from some big thinkers who have had an opinion on the issue:
1. Hugh Lofting
Lofting was a British author who had his famous fictional character Dr. Dolittle say this in The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle.
2. Rachel Carson
Carson was an American marine biologist responsible for launching the modern environmental movement by detailing ecological issues in her books.
3. Carl Sagan
Sagan was the author of more than 20 books on space and the universe and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
4. Dian Fossey
Fossey was a researcher and conservationist who is best known for her work studying the behavior of gorillas in Rwanda.
5. Dr. Archie Carr
Carr was a zoologist and conservationist who is considered “the father” of sea-turtle research and conservation.
6. Jane Goodall
Goodall is a primatologist and UN “Messenger of Peace” who is best known for her pioneering work with chimpanzees.
7. Alice Walker
Walker is an author, a poet, an activist, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
8. Farley Mowat
Mowat was an environmentalist, an activist, and the bestselling author of Never Cry Wolf.
9. Nadine Gordimer
Gordimer was a novelist and a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.