Розмовна тема: Zoo Check! The Case for Closure

Розмовна тема: Zoo Check! The Case for Closure

Not so long ago I read a rather depressing article about animals in zoos. Its title was “Zoo Check! The Case for Closure” and it was published in the French magazine “Speak up” for those who would like to refresh their knowledge of English. It was announced in the article that London’s famous zoo in Regent’s Park was facing a financial crisis. It was said that unless the zoo could find substantial new funding then the whole complex would have to shut down. Central Park Zoo in New York City and many other zoos around the world are facing similar cash problems. Needless to say, the announcement led to a great number of questions being raised, both in Parliament and in press. But the threatened closure of London Zoo also led to a broader debate as to whether zoos are necessary at all. in London or anywhere else. It is cruel to collect and keep wild animals in captivity for our own entertainment or are zoos indispensable for the better understanding of animal world? Do zoos degrade the confined creatures or do they serve a vital function in animal conservation? Some organizations for preserving animals insist that animals are no different from people and should be treated accordingly. They believe that incarceration inflicts unacceptable psychological and even physical harm on animals. At the extreme, zoophobes are arguing that the extinction of endangered species may be preferable to confinement.

Zoo Check is a British-based pressure group that campaigns for the abolition of all zoos. Its director, William Travers, claims that the whole sort of concept of the zoo has a hidden agenda. A number of zoos have educational departments but a very small fraction of visitors go into them. So it is hard not to agree with him. What the rest of the people are seeing is this hidden agenda of concrete, steel, iron, glass; animals in confined spaces, animals having to be controlled, dominated, suppressed in order to maintain them within that environment. People come away from the zoo with a feeling of dominance and control, rather than an inspiring appreciation and respect for wildlife. They come out with a very mixed feeling, which is not a positive one. Zoos may say that they have a very important role in maintaining certain species and in animal research. Zoos maybe control about 200 species worldwide on an international basis. However, even on the best terms, zoos can only hope to address the need of tiny fraction of the bio-diversity on Earth because there are about four-and-a-half thousand species in the International Red Data Book as being endangered and in need of support. So it’s impossible for zoos to maintain all the endangered species and to regard them as some sort of proverbial “ark” is completely wrong. From my standpoint, we should have legislation on zoos in favor of the abolition of zoos in our country where animals are treated exceptionally cruelly. Besides, there should be a very significant swing in public opinion, without which it is impossible to solve this burning problem.

Now I’d like you to share your opinion on this issue of paramount importance. Do you agree with me or are you against the idea of developing the alternative structures that could take the zoo place, the ones that could inspire people to become involved in the environmental issues? Is it necessary for people to have the interests of the animals first? Or should they think only of themselves regardless cruelty in the zoos of our country? I would be grateful if you could answer all these questions.