Jack Hanna (
www.jackhanna.com) is the host of the Emmy
from an expert in the field:
Elliot M. Katz is president and founder of In Defense of Animals
MAY DEBATE RESULTS: Should judges be elected? No 61% Yes 39%
Percentage reflects votes
received by May 6, 2010.
APRIL DEBATE RESULTS:
Is obesity a disease?
YES: 23% NO: 77%
Percentage reflects votes received by
April 30, 2010. Results may reflect
Debate being picked up by blogs.
I WRITE AS A veterinarian who has witnessed the behind-the-scenes
abuses, cruelties, injuries and deaths of animals, and the more public injuries
and deaths of elephants like Tyke, who was shot to death before a horrified
public. The larger and more dangerous the animals, such as elephants, lions,
tigers, chimpanzees and orcas (“killer whales”), the more likely they will suf-
fer from abuse and cruelty due to totally inadequate and inhumane enclo-
sures. When zoos, circuses and aquariums package animal exploitation and
abuse as education and conservation, they are truly misleading the public.
Training powerful and dangerous animals usually involves constant threats of pain. Circuses
and zoos often use steel-tipped bull hooks to prod, hook and even beat elephants into compliance,
resulting in a lifetime of terror and fear. Zoos keep elephants in pitifully inadequate enclosures
that inhibit movement and involve standing on concrete or other hard surfaces, wreaking havoc
on feet and joints, which results in painful foot infections and/or crippling arthritis. These are
usually masked with high doses of painkillers, resulting in premature and painful deaths often
attributed to other causes.
Chimpanzees are “retired” once they reach the age at which their strength becomes dangerous. Retirement for chimpanzees usually means being confined in small cages or roadside zoos,
spending the rest of their lives in wretched isolation.
“Killer whales” are violently separated from their families and forced to swim circles in chem-ical-filled concrete tanks for their entire lives.
Animal protection and education are jeopardized when children are taught to see these animals as caricatures performing ridiculous stunts or as objects to gawk at in cages or poor facsimiles of their natural habitats. A recent study found no evidence that visiting zoos and aquariums
increases interest in conservation.
Actually, conservation is hindered, not helped, when animals are kept in small and inadequate enclosures that result in complete boredom and/or abnormal behavior such as repetitive
swaying or head bobbing. Treated disrespectfully, these animals are perceived as nothing more
than objects or things to make fun of, or to be entertained by, not as individuals that deserve the
freedom to live in the wild, in natural preserves or in sanctuaries designed for their needs. C
JUNE 2010 The Costco Connection 17
Opinions expressed are those of the individuals
or organizations represented and are presented
to foster discussion. Costco and The;Costco
Connection take no position on any Debate topic.