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Fear of the Animal Planet The Hidden History of Animal Resistance

Updated on July 17, 2011

I would dearly like to read this book myself but budget constraints mean that this is not going to happen anytime in the near future. All I have to go on is what others have written up to date and on that I have much to disagree upon.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that some animals do plan escapes and some do their planning well in advance. I equally have little doubt that of those who do escape that a return to the 'home' of their enclosure is the thing they want to do most after their adventure.

Two examples:

  1. Many years ago a zoo I was in was blown up. There was tremendous damage and many people were killed (happily not in the zoo). Within the zoo however the doors were blown off many animal enclosures and animals, probably more out of curiosity than anything escaped. We are not talking about ones and two's here but large nimbers of Gazelle, Deer, Antelope and Wild Sheep. This was in the middle of the night. All I could do was walk around the zoo and prop doors into place to prevent further egress. First light I returned and all the animals waited at their doors to be let back in.
  2. Another Zoo. We had lost a number of birds under mysterious circumstances. The deaths suggested the work of a Stoat as we had had problems in the past. On the fourth day we trapped the culprit. It was a Pine Marten. One of our Pine Martens. He had located a tiny hole in his cage and had been squeezing out through this every night and back in after he had had his fun. He was always there in the morning with a 'butter would not melt in my mouth' expression on his face.

The reviews I have read of this book appear to suggest in a typical Animal Rights manner that zoos are cruel.

Here are some quotes:

"Zoos, circuses and theme parks are the strategic hamlets of American’s long war against nature itself"

"Jason Hribal takes us behind the zoo scenes, the phoney exhibits, and cute displays to reveal an ugly economy of exploitation, international trafficking in exotic animals, over-work, cruelty in training, incessant and insolent teasing from the public. He chronicles the escapes, the assaults, the demand of food, and the refusals to reproduce that resulted. Here is"

"leaving the keepers, trainers, and showmen in shameful anonymity"

"Hribal argues persuasively that these escapes and attacks are deliberate, that the animals are acting with intent, that they are asserting their own desires for freedom"

Sorry but I don't agree. I am not saying that everything is rosy in the garden in every zoo. There are many that need closing but to collect the bad and condemn the rest is a typical Animal Rights approach.

I believe though the book will be a good and worthwhile read. Worthwhile because you will be aware just what sort of opinionated data that is going to be thrown your way in the not too distant future.




How To Order

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  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    compayee - Whilst I believe you are entitled to your opinion I fear that that you are lumping all zoos together which is wrong. I could have quoted examples of wolves and cats escaping and returning to their quarters. Very few animals in zoos are 'captured' any more and as far as 'forced' to breed... it doesn't happen in good zoos.

    Please, if you get a bit of time do read my zoo hubs. You may just change your opinion, if only slightly.

    Thanks for commenting.

  • profile image

    compayee 7 years ago

    >Gazelle, Deer, Antelope and Wild Sheep

    Perhaps the ruminants you enlist above do not mind living in a Zoo (having been born there and having lost their taste for freedom or never having known it in the first place). It has to do with their herd instinct too.

    Sheep are notoriously obedient. Being properly fed as they are in a zoo renders them less likely to be adventurous and venture into the unknown. Zoo prison turned them docile and sedentary.

    Yet other types of animals like the felines, wolves, foxes, bears etc. greatly suffer as a result of being locked and deprived of freedom of movement. I doubt they would look twice back given the chance to escape their zoo incarceration.

    I am sympathetic to their plight. It is not their fault that a certain breed of perfidious monkey (i.e. Homo Sapiens) took over the planet and eventually deprived anyone else of freedom and of space. And this applies to the marine creatures too which are hunted and extracted from their natural environment for the benefit of the man. It is this blatant unbalanced ratio between man and animal that has to be restored. We Homo sapienses are by far too privileged. It has perhaps to do with the size of our brains but then the compassion gene in us (if there is one) seems to have atrophied.

    I cannot applaud Zoos or circuses or aquariums or birds kept in cages as singing birds. These are all freak shows whose sole purpose is the amusement of the above mentioned hominid monkey.

    The burden beasts on the other side, like the oxen or the buffalo seem to me more dignified despite being forced to work and yoked.

    Their lives are infinitely more pleasant if hard, than the ones of those wild animals captured and then forced to breed in zoos or reservations so man can then commercialize and exploit their lives.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    Hello, hello, - Thank you. I know I have a pro zoo bias but it is pro good zoo. I dislike people who lump them all together and say all is bad. It is like saying if one egg in a dozen is rotten then all the rest are too.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for your good advice and interestingly written hub which is always viewed from both sides.