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When I was 7 and went to the zoo with my second-grade class, I saw chimpanzee eyes for the first time - the eyes of an unhappy animal, all alone, locked in a bare, concrete-floored, iron-barred cage in one of the nastier, old-fashioned zoos. I remember looking at the chimp, then looking away.
Octavia E. Butler
Zoos are becoming facsimiles - or perhaps caricatures - of how animals once were in their natural habitat. If the right policies toward nature were pursued, we would need no zoos at all.
Michael J. Fox
I am personally not against keeping animals at zoos, as they serve a huge educational purpose, but treating them well and with respect seems the least we could do, and with 'we' I mean not just zoo staff, but most certainly also the public.
Frans de Waal
It was wrong to capture wild animals and confine them in captivity for people to go and gawk at them. And that's basically how zoos got started. But once you do that, and once you have animals that have been bred in captivity, you're really stuck with them in some sense. You can't return them to the wild.
For better or worse, zoos are how most people come to know big or exotic animals. Few will ever see wild penguins sledding downhill to sea on their bellies, giant pandas holding bamboo lollipops in China or tree porcupines in the Canadian Rockies, balled up like giant pine cones.
I grew up in airports and on air bases. I know what flying and airports can be. And most airports make me feel like we're about three per cent better than ants. Especially U.S. airports. They're zoos. All civility is gone.
In my perfect world, we would establish perhaps four national zoos of unimpeachable quality and close the rest of them.
In most countries, it is possible to visit zoos and see bored animals pacing back and forth in cages, with nothing to do but wait for the next meal. Circuses are even worse places for animals. Their living conditions are deplorable, especially in travelling circuses where cages have to be small so that they can go on the road.
What a lonely species we are, searching for signals of life from other galaxies, adopting companion animals, visiting parks and zoos to commune with other beasts. In the process, we discover our shared identity.
Through PETA, we rescue animals in roadside zoos and circuses. They are some of the most abused animals in the country.
All zoos are both beguiling and repellent.
We have wild animals in zoos, yet people rarely meet their 'food' face to face.
We're in 'Jurassic Park' territory. If we go to the zoo in the future, we'll have zoos for extinct animals.
I hate zoos.
Thanks partly to the kind of poets that we now have and partly to funding, there's been a gigantic shift in the way poetry is perceived... Poems on the Underground, poets in schools, football clubs, zoos.
When I was a child I used to read books by Gerald Durrell, who founded Jersey Zoo. He had a job collecting animals for zoos and for a long time that is what I wanted to do. Later when I was a teenager I had a fantastic English teacher called Mrs. Stafford. Her enthusiasm made me decide to be a writer.
When I visit my brother in South Africa, I order things I've only seen in zoos. Little deers and kudu, all the mammals you would never think of eating.
I do love nature, but I don't suppose I'd spent more time in zoos as a child than anyone else!
We're feeding all these zoos. And that's getting bigger and bigger.
Dick Van Patten
Zoos should concentrate more on the preservation side of things.
John F. Kennedy
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