Food, Yarn, & Stuff

The Zoo

Posted on: June 23, 2011

Today I took the kids to Brookfield Zoo.  I’m sure zoo’s are not a vegan way to spend the day.  But, I reiterate that I’m following the ‘nutritionally vegan’ path not the ‘PETA vegan’ path.  Not that I think any type of animal cruelty is right, but I’m not an animal activist either.  I think I had a different view of the zoo this time around, and some of the ‘teaching’ items I saw there.  One, in particular, caught my attention.

We were in The Living Coast exhibit.  There are many areas in this exhibit that talk about the dangers of over-fishing and pollution causing the breakdown of the coastal ecosystems.  These are great lessons that need to be continually taught to our children (and adults for that matter!)  There was one learning board that was talking about how fish in Peru were connected to ‘us’ in Illinois.  This is the one that caught my eye and just had me think… “eww, that’s just not right!” It went like this:

  • Fishermen in Peru catch the fish.
  • The fish are processed and ground up to make ‘meal’.
  • The ‘meal’ is fed to livestock (with a little picture of a cow and pig eating from a trough).
  • The farmers in Illinois farm this livestock.

Now, think about this line of ‘logic’.  What is wrong with this ‘picture’?

Do you see it? …Think about it…

When was the last time you heard of a cow or pig eating FISH?!?  The kids (who are 6 and 5) both read these ‘steps’ and then paused and looked at me.  I asked them what’s wrong?  They both said “Cows and pigs don’t eat fish! They eat grass!” My thoughts exactly! But, I don’t think there’s really any other way for the fish caught in Peru to be connected to Illinois.  And, if fish from Peru is really part of the feed that is feeding our livestock – that’s just another reason in my opinion not to eat that meat!

I think Brookfield Zoo does a great job of educating about animals and working to help preserve species that may otherwise become extinct.  They are doing the best that they can to emulate natural environments for these animals.  They’ve built some amazing new environments for these animals in the last few years, and they’re constantly updating their exhibits for the benefits of the animals.  But, right next to this sign was a tank with fish and two stingrays.  The tank was completely devoid of any other type of ‘life’ besides the fish and stingrays.  One of the stingrays was just swimming back and forth along the back wall with one ‘wing’ rubbing up against the wall each way.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for it!  It reminded me of the scene from Happy Feet when Mumble is in the zoo and starts throwing the fish at the wall thinking that he sees his family there.

Overall, I have no problem with the zoo.  Where else can you take children to see animals that they wouldn’t otherwise see in everyday life.  As well as being exposed to learning opportunities and up close and personal ‘zoo chats’ about different animals.  I think that we are lucky to have such a great zoo in our area, I just feel like I had a bit of a different point of view this time around.

What are your feelings on zoos in general? Do you have a particular zoo that you love to visit?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers

What do you want to read about?


%d bloggers like this: