The Captivity Industry:
The Reality of Zoos and Aquariums

From all-creatures.org
Animal Rights Articles

Moo-ving people toward compassionate living

Visit our Home Page
Write us with your comments

The Captivity Industry:
The Reality of Zoos and Aquariums

By Lori Marino, Gay Bradshaw and Randy Malamud from Best Friends Magazine
January 2011

A circus tiger mauled and killed his trainer.
I wonder what set him off,” said the commentator.
I don’t know. How would you feel if separated from your family,
you were shipped to different cities in a cage no less,
Bound of life, with pain/pleasure techniques,
And complete humility for performance under duress,
A whip no less.
If you were a tiger would you do it?
Would you break away,
Think of escape and if desperate,
Kill and avow your infinite humiliation and guaranteed
Death?
Do you do it, now, as a human?
If not, then I understand why you were not sure
What set the tiger off, Mr. Commentator.
– Serj Tankian, “Circus Tiger”

Zoos create a false sense of security about the survival and welfare of other animals. A zoo filled with empty cages might be a more realistic way to convey the impending loss of species.

More disturbing is that the beliefs and practices of zoos have spread to other venues, such as marine parks that promote interaction between visitors and dolphins. Many people are seeking interactive encounters that allow them to get "hands on" with the animals. This need for a more "consuming" experience has led to the growth of the swim-with-dolphins industry.

Caught up in the colonial legacy of conquest and possession, modern humans have made animals pay a terrible price. Our sense of entitlement to see any animal when, where and how we want has created a culture of slavery and oppression for animals. We have become complacent about the animals with whom we share our everyday lives and demand that if we live in, say, Atlanta or Cleveland or San Diego, far away from the African savannahs and jungles of India, we are entitled to see elephants and tigers.

Read the entire article/PDF.


Lori Marino, Ph.D., is senior lecturer in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program at Emory University. Gay Bradshaw, Ph.D., Ph.D., is director of The Kerulos Center (www.kerulos.org) and co-founder of the Trans-Species Institute. Randy Malamud, Ph.D., is a professor of English and associate chair of the Department of English at Georgia State University.