Image via WikipediaAmazing! This year it would appear that the so-called Independent newspaper have really got the animal rights bug, especially when it comes to the soft target of animals in captivity. They got a taste for attacking animal circuses in a big way after being fed a lot of information, misinformation and disinformation from animal rights groups in the lead up to a debate in Parliament over the use of wild animals in circuses. Then without any sense of irony whatsoever, two of their journalists wrote two gleaming reviews for two nostalgic documentaries in the Time Shift series ("All the Fun at the Fair" and "When the Circus Came to Town") that looked back a the impact of the travelling fairs and circuses in the UK. The paper has been criticized before for changing from a broadsheet to a tabloid and for furthering radical ideas from the left. It is Rouster's opinion that left/right politics really aren't the issue when it comes to discussing animal rights and animal welfare. However, many animal rights philosophers have tried to pervert leftist ideas towards Animal Rights ideology. In order for one to really do this, you have to first accept that animals are eligible to have rights in the same way as humans do. The Independent clearly took the bait with gusto when it came to their campaign and petition to get wild animals banned in circuses. But when these two documentaries put across the very true point that the travelling exhibition and show institution were practices regularly built up through the working classes to provide entertainment for the working classes, it predictably hit the right nerve in a different way.
Anyway, showing that circuses are not the only target for the anti-animals in captivity brigade, an emotive piece was written in The Independent about "cruelty concerns" for Edinburgh wishing to breed chimpanzees in the largest facility of its kind. This has led to an all out criticism of zoos. The circus industry often gets accused of a slippery slope argument, but evidence shows otherwise. The animal rights movement are slippery and two-faced about a lot of matters, but the main groups have been consistent about this issue. They want a complete ban on all animals in circuses and then they coming after the zoos. Please see below a link to an excellent rebuttal by Zoo News Digest on the Independent article:
Cruelty to Chimpanzees
Even Jane Goodall, the world famous primate behaviourist who is regularly aligned with the animal rights agenda and ideals (see her relationship with "The Animal Manifesto" author, Dr Marc Bekoff, for an example) has come down on the side of the zoo in question. A less charitable person might say this has something to do with Goodall agreeing to open the primate exhibit, but we love charities on these blogs so it wouldn't be us. The below article is an amazing show of hypocrisy. Goodall defends the facility against criticism from the likes of militant animal rightist, the singer Morrissey. Morrissey may be a delusional fool preaching a mad militant agenda, but at least he is consistent. Goodall argues for animal rights on a regular basis, bringing in heavyweights from the world of science to defend her position. Support for her organizations comes from those who have been moved by her propaganda to see a utopian wild and animals in captivity being the equivalent to humans in prisons. She and her followers preach an argument against what the Animal Rights followers call speciesism. Her arguments below are no different from the majority of people keeping animals in captivity. Bekoff, who is the co-founder of "Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" with Goodall, stated quite clearly in the "Skepticality" interview given in the earlier link, that many animals cannot be kept in a captive environment. The said interview clearly states that no matter how well the animals are kept certain large species should not be kept in captivity. Goodall's comments are in direct contrast and echo those said by good zoo curators, safari park managers and circus directors:
"The choice is between living in wonderful facilities like these where they are probably better off or living the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially. If I were a chimpanzee, I know what I would choose"
Zoos are best hope, says Jane Goodall