Why Do We Have Zoos Still?

Chooseyourownfoodchain’s thoughtful post on Zoo’s really got me thinking, why do we even have Zoo’s?

Zoos are intended to provide entertainment and sometimes, education, to the general public (who are paying for this, either in the form of a ticket or, I assume, through taxes).

When it comes to conservation,  a nature preserve seems far wiser and infinitely more humane.

This historical observation really struck me hard:

Here’s a thought: DID YOU KNOW THAT HUMAN BEINGS USED TO BE DISPLAYED IN SOME ZOOS**!??? That’s right. In both America and western Europe, people who were considered “different,” namely those of non-European descent, were kept in small areas for the paying public to watch.

Why the hell do we perpetuate that kind of legacy on animals?  So bored parents have someplace to take their kids on a Saturday?  For educational purposes?  Let’s put an end to zoos.  We can encourage parents to be active with their kids on Saturdays, and watch nature specials that are far more informative than staring at caged animals.

We can do better, for ourselves and for animals.

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Preventing Prison Rape

From Alas, a Blog (via Our Descent Into Madness):

In a letter published in The New York Review of Books, David Kaiser of Just Detention International argues that we could significantly reduce prison rape, if we genuinely wanted to.

Why aren’t we doing this?  Do we consider the rights of inmates to be that unimportant?  Is it just for people, jailed for nonviolent offenses, to suffer the profoundly damaging crime of rape because they had to spend a year in the lockup?

Our prison system is a human rights nightmare, and we cannot in the even the lightest sense claim to be a country with respect for the rule of law when we allow it to be so violently broken.

Egypt: The Guy NOT Saved by Twitter

Two arrested.  One American, one Egyptian.  One was released, the other is being held “somewhere” without the ability to communicate with the outside world (Mercury News, emphasis mine):

Back home in Berkeley last night he said he’s still worried about his interpreter and friend, Mohammed Salah Ahmed Maree, who was arrested with him and is still being held incommunicado by Egyptian authorities. Unlike Buck, he didn’t have the muscle of the U.S. Embassy and UC Berkeley.

Buck said that in the middle of the night, hours after his arrest, authorities told him he was free to go.

“I said, ‘No’ and I stayed for 12 more hours and we started a hunger strike at some point. But they grabbed him (Maree) and put him in a different holding area. Finally, they said they had transferred him to another prison,” Buck said.

What can we do?

Hossam El-Hamalawy, an Egyptian blogger who is now a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, said the most important thing is to publicize the situation so Egypt will furnish information about where Maree and others arrested are being kept. “Egypt has a huge population of prisoners because of these security crackdowns and any information will also help their families and lawyers, who are trying to find them,” he said.

Please sign the Petition to Free Mohammed Maree.

And think about this for a moment:

“Egypt has a huge population of prisoners because of these security crackdowns and any information will also help their families and lawyers, who are trying to find them,” he said.

A huge population of political prisoners whose families have no idea where they are being held.