Why Don’t Vegan Children Go To The Zoo? Also, There Are Awesome Zoo Alternatives! #1 – The Natural History Museum

September 18th, 2013 - filed under: The Farm » Family


Rattlesnake display at the SB Museum of Natural History. I grew up peering into this same display.

Okay, confession time. I took Waits to the zoo.

Once. It happened one time. Because, see, I grew up going to the zoo each and every single Friday, and I can’t help but partially attribute my love of animals to that experience. So unlike many vegans who were clear about their anti-zooness from the start, I was not. I was conflicted.

Which is why, when my Dad asked to take us to the zoo, I said okay. It was April of 2012 and we were visiting Santa Barbara, so it was the very zoo I grew up visiting. And I thought “Okay then, we’ll give this a try and see how it feels.”

Can I just stop and tell you a story? Sorry, it’s going to be a lot of text. Here, I’ll break it up with an adorable picture from that day. Wee Mr. Waits feeding a giraffe:


Okay so story time. I grew up in California in the 80s, which means I grew up learning about THE CONDORS. Maybe if you’re not a California 80s baby you won’t be familiar with this story, but basically this incredible bird with like, a 10-foot wingspan, was seriously endangered due to human poaching and pollution. And by endangered I mean, they were literally extinct in the wild. There were less than 50 alive, all in captivity. It was horrible and tragic and as we grew up, we all followed along with the recovery process. We were all so invested in seeing this species survive!

And they did survive, and in the early 90s the condors were released back into the wild, and with careful management they have been steadily growing in numbers ever since (though they’re still on the endangered species list).

So anyway, I was walking around this zoo with my father and my son, and generally feeling a lot of mixed emotions (nostalgia! . . . I love the pretty animals! . . . that pretty animal looks bored out of his mind!) and then all of a sudden, I found myself standing in front of a condor enclosure. Right there in front of me, for the first time in my life, I was seeing a real live California condor. And I have to tell you, I got choked up.

And I stood there in awe, thinking about how close they had come to extinction and how it’s sort of a miracle that now there was this enormous gorgeous raptor sitting right there in front of me, alive and not at all extinct, and yes I am a sap, and yes I let a few tears slip out. It was pretty overwhelming.

And then that giant bird took off. She leapt from her perch, and spread those mighty wings, and flapped once, twice, aaaaand three times got her to the other side of the enclosure. Three flaps and that was the complete extent of her ability to fly – this birds of prey that were she free would soar in lazy sweeping circles hundreds of feet above the canyons.

And my heart broke for her, and then more tears came, and that was the end of my zoo patronage right then and there.


So I know, you may be getting ready to tell me that there are some zoos out there that are good. It was, in fact, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, in partnership with the LA Zoo, that facilitated the program to bring the condors back from the brink of extinction.

And I concede, that it’s possible there are animal parks out there doing good work. Sure. But then I have to ask, what’s really the point of breeding condors just to spend their lives in tiny cages? Cages which deprive them of their basic rights to act on their natural instincts and urges (such as soaring, and hunting)? That day at the zoo I also came across a big beautiful lion trapped in a small cement box. I saw a crocodile floating in a pool not much bigger than my bathtub. I saw instance after instance of animals looking sad, wilted, clipped, or crazed. And wouldn’t you be, too?

So no, no zoos for us anymore. That became clear. But luckily, there are alternatives!


A Natural History Museum is just exactly what it sounds like – a museum which focuses on the natural world. This includes zoology, botany, paleontology, ecology, and much more. There are generally no living animals on display at Natural History Museums. Instead they use replicas, models, and taxidermied specimens.


Yes, it’s taxidermy. And I can see how this would bother some vegans on a purely visceral level. However, it helps me to remember that Natural History Museums – at least the one here in Santa Barbara – do NOT actively kill animals for use in their displays.

The animals are donated after they’ve died. I interned at the museum during college, and I’ve literally seen people bring in road kill, or call when something unusual washes up on shore. There’s an incredible, enormous, complete blue whale skeleton that sits in front of the museum, and it came from a whale which was found beached and deceased back in 1980.

This sets museums apart from zoos. Zoos participate in an active machine of animal oppression: capture and confinement. In contrast, museums provide a passive vehicle for education. Natural History Museums familiarize children with the biological world by allowing them to view representations of animals in their natural habitats, to interact with zoological artifacts, and to begin their exploration of the Earth sciences.


Waits and I visit the Natural History Museum pretty regularly in the fall and winter. He adores it, and always finds something new to discover. And I love watching him there. The way he studies the animals. The way he delights in the interactive displays. His questions!

At the Natural History Museum, Waits is learning to tune into the biological world, to notice the sweeping landscapes of the macro scale: the climates, the community, the ecology. He’s also able to conceptualize the much more detailed micro level: the way a shell looks when cut in cross section, or the size of a giant squid’s eye in relationship to its body, or “Mommy, why is that egg so big and that other egg is soooo small?”


I do not believe that children need zoos in order to fall in love with the animal kingdom. Because I watch my own child do it right here, each time we visit.

There are a couple other places we go to appreciate animals, places which offer great alternatives for vegan children to learn. I’ll be sharing some of our very favorites soon, so stay tuned!

My decision to avoid zoos is a personal one, and I do not begrudge anyone who has made a different decision for their family. It is never my intention to make anyone feel judged. Bonzai Aphrodite has and always will be a place for education as well as conversation, which means everyone is welcome here! Love and respect. ~s

  • katta

    Its interesting because here (in Australia) one of our museums (well one fesses up to it) was “renowned” for paying people to hunt (and kill) Aboriginal peoples so they could skin, dissect, examine and display their bones – and while these aren’t on display (and have been returned to their traditional peoples for burial) I feel conflicted about entering these spaces we have created which also seem to belittle life.

  • http://necessarystrangeness.wordpress.com/ Stefanie

    Just this past weekend I was talking to my sister in law about zoos, and she had a deeply moving and tragic story about Sea World sending her into inconsolable tears on a family vacation when she was a child. It developed into a conversation about animal welfare in general and cognitive dissonance, and while she isn’t vegan (or even vegetarian), she did eat the seitan sausage italian skillet I made for dinner that night instead of grabbing food on her way out of town. It got me thinking that many people I know feel a deep sense of sadness intuitively when they see animals in captivity, and hearing their stories makes a for a very nonconfrontational and nonjudgmental way to explain my choice of veganism, and allow them a space to contemplate their own choices. And then this post pops up at just the right moment and reaffirms my stand. Well put, Sayward!

  • Tracy

    Thanks for writing about this topic. My son is almost 4 and I struggle with this…I know he is going to start asking to go to the zoo soon, considering we read him a book about the historic sites of Philadelphia often and there is a page about visiting the zoo. We also go to the natural history museum here and he loves it. He had his 3 year old birthday party there. But the time will come when he specifically asks to go to the zoo, and why does mommy not eat meat but daddy does?? etc, etc…..He now compares me to a dinosaur…”Mommy eats plants:)”

  • Sarah C.

    This is an interesting and complex topic that lots of us think deeply about, and I don’t think there is one right answer for each family. For us, it really does depend on which zoo we’re talking about. I grew up going to a great zoo (and non-profit) and learning lots about animals and conservation efforts, and I have and will continue to take my daughter there when we visit my parents. But there are other zoos that I have been to and will never return to (one for-profit zoo that my in-laws wanted to go to was so awful that I almost swore off all zoos forever). As the Humane Society points out, zoos are an established fact of our society and we need to work to make them more humane and safe. So, I do choose to patronize zoos that have accreditation and endorsement from animal welfare groups. And it’s funny – I have more of a hard time with displaying the dead bodies of animals and insects than you do (even though the scholar in me fully endorses the scientific knowledge gained from inspecting species, I have a hard time balancing that with the horror of dissection and display of animal bodies). I can walk through the zoo or the aquarium with my child and talk about habitat and conservation and human-animal interaction, but I get tounge-tied trying to explain why humans think it is ok to pin dead butterflies up in a display case. I guess the most important thing for each family is consistency and an open and honest conversation with our kids about our values and what is good/bad about each situation so that they can learn and make decisions on their own as they grow up.

  • Liz

    There’s a condor preserve right near you, where you could try to see them in the wild. I think it’s called Sespe. (I also saw a condor in flight at Zion National Park, and—CA child of the 80s as I am—it brought me to (happy) tears.)

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    Thank you for writing about this issue – I know so many veg*ns who are conflicted over this very thing! (The farmed animal refuge meeting I was at this past Saturday devolved into an ALL OUT screaming and fighting match between two supporters, one who is new to veganism and one who has been vegan for a long, long time, over this issue – because the person new to veganism asked for people’s thoughts on a gift pass she received for a nearby lemur center.)

    ANYWAY. When we first moved to NC, we were given a one-year family zoo membership for Christmas. We don’t live close to the zoo and only visited two or three times. I was immediately conflicted the first time we went there (in my mind, all zoos are as awful as the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo, which I vehemently protested against back home). The one or two additional times we went, I used it as an opportunity to observe the NC zoo and be more objective – not just going on my visceral, emotional response. My feelings were stronger each time we visited, and the membership was *not* renewed.

    We have a membership to a life+science museum that has also has a small number of animals, and I use it as an opportunity to talk to Nina about animal capture and confinement, animals used for profit and entertainment, animals used for research. This museum has injured animals (a blind owl; a diabetic turkey; etc) but they also have some large mammals (not unlike the mammals our refuge will be taking in). Nina made the circus/animal abuse connection on her own, as well as kill farms and slaughterhouses. She is connecting a lot of the dots where zoos are concerned, too, just from what she’s observed at this museum. Will we renew our membership to this particular museum next year? Probably not. Is it because they have animals on display? Absolutely. I want Nina to be a part of our family decision to not renew this membership. I have to tell you, though – there was this one visit where she was feeding a cow some hay and nuzzling her, and someone (a parent, of course ) made a comment about hamburgers, and she WENT OFF. I held back tears and let her run her mouth and it was pretty awesome. For that moment alone, it was worth the year’s membership fee.

    I haven’t had the heart to research Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, and probably won’t until the next time we plan to visit. Same for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As for natural history museums, I’m so glad you talked about them as your first alternative! Ours is a couple of hours away, but I have a feeling once Nina and I make the trip, it will be a quarterly visit (at the very least).

  • Jim Corcoran

    There are several children’s books that address these very issues and help kids understand. Ruby Roth is a wonderful writer: http://wedonteatanimals.com/

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    Don’t forget The One and Only Ivan! http://theoneandonlyivan.com/

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    “…many people I know feel a deep sense of sadness intuitively when they see animals in captivity, and hearing their stories makes a for a very nonconfrontational and nonjudgmental way to explain my choice of veganism, and allow them a space to contemplate their own choices.”
    Such a really great point!

  • Katie

    I have to admit, I am an avid zoo goer. I love my local zoo, and I appreciate how hard they work to ensure that their animals are as free as they can possibly be while under supervision. In fact, my zoo is actually made up of a lot of injured animals who would not be able to survive in the wild. We have two bald eagles, one who was shot, and one who was hit by a semi. Neither of them can fly anymore, and they now live in the zoo in a large, open pasture, with plenty of room to roam, and graduated trees that they are able to climb into. We also have a one-armed baby chimp who is now thriving thanks to the zoo’s efforts. Almost all the exhibits are acres wide and open air, and you can just tell that no expense or detail has been spared when attempting to make their habitat as natural and free as possible. They even have flamingos and peacocks that roam freely throughout the zoo, without any enclosure at all. When I look at the animals, they seem happy and well-adjusted, and because so many come from dubious pasts, I am nothing but happy to see them in a stable home where they can survive and even thrive. Again, though, this is my zoo. I know that not all zoos are like this. But I believe in mine, and I will give them my money as long as they will take it.

  • Bianca-Vegan Crunk

    I love this post!! I love how you talk about not being sure and then seeing those animals in captivity and being sure. I had a similar experience after going to the Memphis Zoo after going vegan. I think sometimes we have to see for ourselves to remind us why we have the convictions that we do. Thank you. I’m going to share this with some of my zoo-going friends.

  • http://www.thevegancookiefairy.com/ The Vegan Cookie Fairy

    Yes. Yes yes yes! Once again you make your point intelligibly, intelligently, and with so much grace. You are one awesome mother, and that little boy is very lucky indeed. I hope you know there are many young women out there reading your blog who will take much inspiration from the way you raise Waits. Thank you for this post :) (And I don’t mean this in any way to pressure you, I just mean to say that you are doing such a great job, and I’ve certainly learnt a lot from you.)

  • http://luminousvegans.com/ luminousvegans

    Lovely post. Waits looks very happy at the Natural History Museum. I went to the aquarium with my sister and nieces/nephews once (while vegan). I hadn’t visited zoos since going vegan but I dunno, I never gave much thought to aquariums. Sometime after that trip, I had a similar aquarium epiphany.

  • Vegan Richa

    Thank you for this wonderful post Sayward. I dont know what I will do when I have kids. But with the way technology has grown over the years, pictures and videos and interaction with the animals around the house should work to make the conection.

  • Kelly

    Katie, as a vegan AND a zookeeper, thank you for this. THANK YOU.

  • Kelly

    Sayward, My heart is in my throat reading this post, but maybe not for the reason you’d expect. You see, I am both a vegan and a zookeeper. Whenever I read disparaging comments about zoos it makes me want to cry, because I think if vegans really understood them, they would support them. I see it from the inside and know what great institutions they are (I’m speaking specifically about AZA-accredited zoos in this country here. Many foreign zoos as well as non AZA zoos are a whole different story.) I would love to talk with you (or any other concerned vegan reading this) more on this topic if you are interested.

  • Jesscia

    I’m so glad you chose to write about this!! I’ve actually been contemplating this issue a lot lately, and was actually considering emailing you for your opinion. Thank you for your insight.
    Oh, and I saw a condor last year while hiking the Grand Canyon. He was beautiful!

  • Jesscia

    I just looked up AZA accredited zoos in my state, just to look into the issue a little more. I was excited to see three or four locations in my region to research further…and then I saw SeaWorld on the list. I really and truly do not intend to come off as combative, but how can an organization that approves of SeaWorld be trusted?

  • Sarah C.

    Thank you for this perspective – I for one would love to hear more of the details about your position on this issue. As a qualified zoo-goer (see my comment below) I am not totally surprised to hear that some zookeepers love animals and care for their welfare, but I’d love to read more of your thoughts. Don’t know where the right forum for that is, but maybe Sayward could link to something you’ve written or a guest post? And thanks again to Sayward for making this a judgment-free zone so that important issues like this can be debated with kindness and civility.

  • Kelly

    I understand your concern as I myself am not a fan of Sea World. There is dispute about including such organizations as zoos are conservation oriented whereas Sea World is a place of entertainment. I guess I would just say that just because you don’t approve of one, don’t lump us all together as if we are the same industry.

  • Shannon

    I totally get how you’re feeling. I too went through the same emotions and experiences this past year here in San Diego. We have one of the most popular zoos in the country, including the Wild Animal Park (aka the Safari Park), so my curiosity got the better of me and we purchased annual passes. I went once to the SD Zoo and once to the Safari Park. Both of them made me sad. My new love is our Natural History Museum and Science Center at the Balboa Park :)

  • souperbee

    Y’know, I was in conflict over this very issue for a while, too. We’d bought zoo passes without thinking, but once I’d gone there with our little one several times and noticed how small the animals’ environs were, it just made me too sad to go. And we’re talking about the Oakland and SF zoo, not some little no name zoo! My husband (also vegan) argues that we need zoos so that we can learn about animals, but I don’t agree at all. With today’s technology, kids can get much more out of watching videos of animals in the wild. At minimum, you get a close-up of the animals that you’d never get at a zoo. And you get to see them in their natural habitat. And if you miss something, just hit rewind! You can’t get any of that at the zoo. So I completely agree with you that kids don’t need zoos to learn about animals. Thank you for posting your thoughts on this issue.

  • Emily B

    I think Sayward put it beautifully and created a wonderful space for discussion. I am a new vegan and deciding mentally how I am going to tackle the zoo issue. I think going to my local zoo to see how I feel about it will let me know which way feels right for me.

    However, I would love to hear your perspective since that is obviously your specialty. I think any and all knowledge that we can gain as vegans is helpful for ourselves and others. If I tried to explain that I was against zoos, some people would shut down immediately. Knowledge is power so maybe a link to something you’ve written or a guest post would be incredible!

  • http://exileinmomville.blogspot.com/ Joselle Palacios

    Kelly, this may veering off-topic, but could you speak briefly about the AZA accreditation process? What makes a zoo AZA? Other than their website, are there third party links that can speak to its validity? I am truly interested. I am a new mom and my husband and I would never step foot in a zoo but we both agree that they were such lovely experiences for us growing up and fostered our love animals. We don’t want or need to go to a zoo now but wonder how we’ll manage that with our daughter. This post gives me lots to think about, Sayward. I love the museum alternative.

  • http://exileinmomville.blogspot.com/ Joselle Palacios

    Tracy, just want to say that we’re in Philly. The Philly zoo is AZA and I can’t even look at the balloon without getting sad! So, that’s why I’d like to know more about the accreditation process. Anyways, hello to a fellow Philly vegan family.

  • Tracy

    Thanks Joselle…so that is a good thing, right? I did not know our zoo was AZA accredited. It hasn’t posed much of a problem yet because my son hasn’t asked to go there specifically but I too grew up going to the zoo. And its great to hear about other vegans out there. I feel like they are a rare breed here, especially for those over 20:)

  • veronika

    lots to think about for sure…

    not related to zoos, but thought this was an interesting bit i learned the other day. i was out with friends looking for a bar with began food options, and made off-the-cuff comment about booze being vegan and therefore i’d just be drinking my dinner.

    anyhoo, apparently not all wine is vegan!

    i’m sure this isn’t news to most people, but it was definitely a “stop the presses!” moment for me. http://www.peta.org/about/faq/Is-wine-vegan.aspx

    thought i’d share.

  • veronika

    …and by “began” i actually meant to type “vegan”.

  • Kelly

    Hi Joselle,
    Would you like to email me at shinyhappyvegan@live.com and maybe I can help to answer specific questions?

  • Kelly


    I actually wrote a piece on veganism and zoos about a year ago after reading a negative comment by someone I really respected. Hoping to offer a new perspective, I wrote about many topics that I felt might change people’s minds. After all, as a zookeeper but also a fellow vegan, who better to speak to this topic, right? But then I got nervous about putting myself out there because I have been verbally attacked for sharing my opinion on the topic in the past. I still have the piece I wrote, just debating about what to do with it. If Sayward or another blogger was open to it, I’d consider sharing. If not, people may feel free to email me at shinyhappyvegan@live.com.

  • Kelly

    Hi Sarah, Thanks! Please see my response to Emily above.

  • bohemianmatka

    Wow, like everyone else who’s read/commented, I’m so glad for the creation of this post! Me and my siblings grew up going to zoos and it really propelled me to start college with a mindset for Vet grad school (after seeing super-intelligent peers strive for 5-6 years for admittance to the local grad school and end up having to move out of state to get into one, I decided to pursue a different career). Its amazing the impact those animals had on me! I’ve been with my 2yo daughter and 3yo nephew to several of the zoos and aquariums here in Texas, and there is definitely a difference in quality between them, despite whatever accreditation they have. I’ve been in a constant internal struggle with this topic over the last year. My lowest emotional point was after seeing a beautiful black leopard on display at the San Antonio Zoo this last winter… he had finally come out to the front of his living space (there wasn’t much of it) and it just so happen that I had stopped to pull out a snack for my daughter. I looked up from the stroller and found myself looking straight at his face from behind a glass barrier (a have a huge soft spot in my heart for the big cats!). I whispered to my daughter to look up and we had about 2 seconds to stare at the gorgeous beast (who was staring at us right back) before hordes of people started crowding us to get a look at him. He became so frantic he began pacing his little enclosure back and forth, emitting distressing mews! To see that beautiful animal reduced to that state so quickly enraged me and was really the turning point in my thinking as far as zoos are concerned. And I understand that not all zoos are out there to meaninglessly breed and turn a profit of wild animals. There is a wonderful ‘zoo’ (Austin Zoo) right past Bee Cave up in the hills that started out as a goat ranch and evolved over the years into a sanctuary for all types of species. I loved leading my daughter around and reading each animal’s story. There are great electronic alternatives to teaching our children about wild animals, but I feel that there is nothing that can replace the experience of seeing them in person; it just has to be the right setting.

  • MathTutor

    It’s great that you mentioned the San Antonio zoo! I grew up going to that zoo and it always made me miserable (and now I realize why).

    My father has also taken me to the Austin zoo and I agree it’s great! Perhaps animal sanctuaries (true sanctuaries) are the kinder vegan alternative to zoos.

  • trombone chick

    Agreed! Escaped zoo animals can also have a disastrous affect on the environment. Case and point the pythons that escaped into the everglades after hurricane andrew!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    That’s so horrible, Katta. I can hardly wrap my mind around that, and I totally understand why you are conflicted.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It’s so true Stefanie! I think most people do have intuitive empathy towards animals and their welfare, at least on some level. Especially “wild” animals (as opposed to “farm” animals), but that empathy for wild animals can, I think, be the beginning of a deeper empathy that includes farm animals as well. A really great point and a great tool for vegans to keep in mind.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I love that he compares you to an herbivorous dinosaur! That is adorable. If you do decide not to go to the zoo, I think it’s okay to be honest about your decision, in an age-appropriate way of course. Like, “Our family is choosing not to go to the zoo because it makes us sad to see the animals in such small cages. Imagine how they must feel being cooped up like that. I bet it doesn’t feel very good.” Something simple like that – I think kids really get it. It’s pretty straightforward!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I think Joselle is saying that even though the Philly Zoo is AZA accredited, it’s still sub-par as far as she is concerned.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Sarah for such a thoughtful comment. I definitely agree that whether we like it or not, zoos are an established part of our society, and so we have to work to make existing zoos better. A great point.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Can you believe I’ve never been to the Sespe?? I gotta go!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    So many great thoughts Monika. It’s true that there are many shades of grey along the zoo-sanctuary spectrum, and I guess it should be said that individual institutions can be evaluated on a case by case basis. I love that with older kids like Nina, you’re able to bring them into the discussion and decision-making process.

    Have you seen Blackfish yet? I used to be more neutral about aquariums, but my feelings have really changed over the past few years. I don’t think I could visit an aquarium now. I can’t wait to see Blackfish!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I love her books!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    See to me, this sounds more like a wild animal sanctuary than a typical zoo. Is it a for-profit or a non-profit institution? I’d love it if you would be willing to share the name.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I agree completely Bianca – sometimes we have to really *experience* something before we can clarify our position. I think as vegans (who can sometimes jump to judgement with other vegans), it’s really great to remember that.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aw, thank you so much. This comment means a lot to me. Thank you!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    My aquarium epiphany cam later, too. Isn’t that funny? I think it’s reflective of the way we’re taught to regard animals in a hierarchical manner. Anyway, have you heard of the new film Blackfish? it’s about Sea World specifically, but brings up issues relevant to all aquariums. I can’t wait to see it!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Your welcome, it’s such an interesting topic and I love all the conversation it’s sparked!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Kelly, I would very much like to talk to you about this issue. I want to be open, but I have to tell you, I share the same concerns as those folks below. If the AZA is willing to give a pass to Sea World, then I cannot trust their judgement as an accrediting agency. That’s not necessarily to say that all zoos are evil, but just that *my* standard is definitely higher than the generally accepted standard.

    But I would really love to hear your thoughts as a vegan zookeeper, and especially in specific regards to what you feel makes a zoo a positive place for animals versus a negative one. It’s obviously a very nuanced issue with many shades of grey, but I would so appreciate hearing an insider’s perspective.

    I feel like I can relate to you, as someone who comes from a strong research biology background. When I was earning my degree (pre-veganism) I worked in a lab that did animal testing/animal experimentation, and my own personal research involved a lot of animal experimentation, euthanasia, and dissection. I still have friends who work in those labs doing those things, and I’m not wiling to write them off as friends. I guess the point of that story is, I’m not a “black and white” person and I very much understand that being personally involved in something can give a certain empathy and insight as to the many shades of grey, that an outsider may never be able to understand.

    I’d love to chat. info AT bonzaiaphrodite DOT com

  • Kelly

    The zoo where I work has free-roaming peacocks as well. I also work with many rehabbed animals that we take care of because they can’t be released back into the wild, but thanks to the zoo they have a home and people to take care of their special needs. In many ways zoos are animal sanctuaries.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I am definitely open to hearing what you have to say, and potentially having you guest post. I can’t guarantee that people won’t disagree, but I always work my best to keep this a respectful place for open dialogue.