Zoos and circuses: The wrong kind of education about animals

Asian elephants perform for the final time in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on May 1 in Providence, R.I. (Bill Sikes/Associated Press)

Asian elephants perform for the final time in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on May 1 in Providence, R.I.
(Bill Sikes/Associated Press)

Donaldson and Kymlicka, co-founders of the Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics research initiative at Queen’s University, published today an op-ed in The Globe and Mail on the issue of animals used in zoos and circuses and what it teaches us.

Growing public unease has prompted the multibillion-dollar zoo industry to rebrand zoos as institutions of “education” rather than “entertainment,” in the hope that this will make captivity seem more acceptable. But notice that this shift is more about the human experience than it is about the situation for the animals. For them, the realities of social and environmental deprivation remain, and so-called enriched zoo habitats merely gloss over the realities of rigid control, manipulation and impoverishment, whether or not animals are trained for public performance.

Click here to read the full article.

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