Sydney's Letter to the San Diego Zoo On Animal Rights
(in response to their effort to train the new panda to accomodate zoo visitors)
Jennie, you asked what you tell somebody who has planned to see the cub and can’t because he is on his own schedule and hasn’t yet been trained to accomodate the interests of visitors.
Answer: accomodate the cub instead and consider your own illusion of central position in the universe. Maybe you didn’t quite think out this response–and I don’t mean to come down too hard on you–but it really troubles me. This sort of thinking has been typical of zoo people for over 100 years when they started capturing wild animals to put them on public display. Circuses think in the same way. I would like to think that the San Diego Zoo is a cut above. I’m not saying that zoos don’t have some value–particularly when it comes to ensuring survival of a species–but the animal should always come first. Let humans accomodate.