Thanks to Josh Shaffer for the thoughtful May 16 column “Protester disrupts traveling zoo at Lumberton mall.” Animal rights activists should be admired for their heartfelt dedication.
But in the future, few large animals will survive on this planet unless they are of service to humans. Because of still-exploding human population in the tropical world, wild habitat is rapidly shrinking.
Thanks to activists, there will no longer be elephants in most circuses. But there will be no compensatory increase in the wild elephant population; there is nowhere for them to go.
Elephants were once used in Thailand for heavy lifting and moving; their population was over 100,000. Since that practice faded, their population has dwindled to about 6,000, most surviving in the tourist industry.
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Activists object to large game preserves in Africa, where wealthy people hunt large animals. But if the preserves close and cease to provide income for Africans, that land will be used for crops. There are now more tigers in captivity in the United States than living wild anywhere.
Until we stem habitat loss, the question is not, “Should these animals live in captivity, or in the wild?” The question becomes, “Should these animals live in captivity, or not at all?”