One small step.
November 17, 2009 4:26 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine from India says that elephant rampages at elephant temples (!) are pretty common. Common enough that they are on the nightly news in his home state of Kerala.
posted by wuwei at 4:38 PM on November 17, 2009

Zoos are pretty depressing if you know how to read animal body language. For example the neurotic obsessive behavioral tics of pretty much every bear I have seen in a zoo. I think it would behoove us to figure out which animals can actually thrive emotionally in a zoo environment, and get the rest of them out of there. Many of the fish, spiders and snakes are probably fine, I guess. And the koalas are probably too stoned to notice they are captive - but particularly the elephants, bears, and chimps really don't seem to thrive emotionally in a zoo environment.
posted by idiopath at 4:44 PM on November 17, 2009 [6 favorites]

For some reason my animal-empathy circuit is stuck on elephants. It hurts to even think about them pumped full of tranqs and being forced to walk in circles all day so kids can ride 'em. Hell, my opinion of zoos tends to match Hobbes'.
posted by griphus at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

Wow this is great news. The conditions in indian circuses and zoos are usually horrific. The only snag I see is when they introduce african elephants to national parks. Major shitstorm coming, I think.
posted by dhruva at 4:58 PM on November 17, 2009

Zookeepers in India are salivating over the baksheesh they'll be able to earn, by offering to show visitors the 'special' pens out the back.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:09 PM on November 17, 2009

This is a huge animal rights win. Three cheers for the activists who achieved it.
posted by bearwife at 5:09 PM on November 17, 2009

I actually pumped my fist, and said, "Yes!" that's how happy I am about this.
posted by typewriter at 5:16 PM on November 17, 2009

I think it would behoove us to figure out which animals can actually thrive emotionally in a zoo environment....

I see what you.... oh never mind.

Zoos are kinda hinky, but circuses are just plain cruel.
posted by rokusan at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2009

posted by metagnathous at 5:34 PM on November 17, 2009

Zoos : Circus :: Prison : Gitmo
posted by phliar at 5:36 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]

Thank Whoever's-In-Charge.

The dog run where Mrs. Beese and I take our whippets in Salt Lake City is right next to the Hogle Zoo - where the Mormons entertain their teeming herds of children.

On my first birthday after moving here to live with her, my then-future wife obliged me by suffering a visit there in the baking July heat.

They had one of the primates - I'm just as glad not to remember specifically which one - on exhibit in a large concrete enclosure with, as my pained memory recalls it, not a single leaf of living green matter. Just a primate sitting on a patch of concrete, staring at us through the bars with as dejected a face as I've seen in any war photograph.

The sign on his cage informed the spectators that his name was "Happy".

That was the day I decided that zoos can go fuck themselves. We'll just have to settle for nature documentaries from now on.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:50 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]

Please do not offer my god a peanut.
posted by jonp72 at 6:13 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]

Awesome stuff.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:00 PM on November 17, 2009

So when will we get this law in the good ol' U S of A?
posted by melissam at 7:11 PM on November 17, 2009

I last went to a zoo about 15 years ago, and it was such a depressing, horrible experience. Probably the worst part was seeing this beautiful ocelot behind a clear window with a thick, greasy horizonal smear across the full length of the glass, left by the poor animal's nose as it paced back and forth from one end of its cage to the other, hour after hour, day after day, month after month. I hate zoos.
posted by Auden at 7:19 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was at an Indian zoo in Mysore, Karnataka. (Link)

The conditions of the zoo were nothing like the standards I have seen in zoos elsewhere.

The elephants seemed to be the best treated animals there. The gorillas and other primates, on the other hand, were chained to concrete posts and, if I remember correctly, were kept in separate pens. They couldn't have more than six feet of chain.

For a zoo, it sure was a depressing day.
posted by ageispolis at 7:27 PM on November 17, 2009

The report I heard on the radio the other day clearly said this applied to tigers as well. But those links don't say that. No idea what's happening there.
posted by wilful at 10:15 PM on November 17, 2009

No, no, but it's OK you see, animals don't have emotions. Quit anthropomorphizing them. They're just meaty automatons.
posted by effugas at 11:01 PM on November 17, 2009

I hope they go out and join the elephant orchestra in their freedom. Man, I love elephants.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:05 AM on November 18, 2009

If all zoos were set up like the San Diego Wild Animal Park, there wouldn't be a problem. Their African elephants have a three acre enclosure to wander around in. I realize that most cities don't have as much space to set up on, but do we really need as many zoos as we have?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:18 AM on November 18, 2009

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