For hundreds of years, zoos have put animals on show. Even human beings were exhibited until the mid 20th century. The lure of something “different”, something “exotic” or “spectacular” have always excited people.
Changing social values, however, meant increased moral pressure on zoos. They responded with larger enclosures and assurances of providing “education” and “raising awareness”, as well as an involvement in the drive for “species protection” and “habitat protection”.
But zoos have remained commercial institutions, doing very little for education, species survival or habitat protection. Quite the opposite, in fact. Animals captured from the wild for zoos and aquariums is an activity that continues to harm nature and animals. In Europe alone, zoos kill around 5,000 “surplus” animals born each year.