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The New York Times | Debating the Morality and Value of Zoos

July 4, 2021 — To the Editor: Re “The Case Against Zoos,” by Emma Marris (Sunday Review, June 13):

Ms. Marris argues that leading zoos and aquariums spend an outsized amount on “operations and construction” compared with their expenditures on “conservation projects.”

The reason modern zoos spend so much on operations is simple — effective, science-based zoological institutions focus on the welfare of animals in their care, a moral obligation that does not come cheap. American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, certifies the humane treatment of animals in more than 60 zoos and aquariums around the globe. These zoological institutions receive our Humane Certified seal as they meet or exceed a science-based set of criteria evaluated by independent auditors who have no stake in the outcome of their decision.

Money spent on proper veterinary care, enrichment activities and nutritious food is not money wasted but rather an investment in the social, and moral, contract we have with animals. To pressure zoos and aquariums to spend less on their animals would lead to inhumane outcomes for the precious creatures in their care.

Robin R. Ganzert, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of American Humane. Read the full coverage of this debate here

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