Thursday, February 14, 2008

Zoos (from the ancient Greek word: “Zeus”)

Vegetarians have mixed feelings about zoos. Sure, we like the chance to spend some time with animals we'd never get to see otherwise, and zoos do an admirable job of repopulating threatened species and advocating wildlife causes. Just maybe (we hope) those kids who get to spend the day eating popcorn and ogling the elephants and giraffes come away with a little more appreciation for the diversity of life, and a little more respect for creatures of species other than their own. These are all good things.

The problem with zoos, of course, is that the animals are in prison. Putting them behind bars is not a nice thing to do to our fellow creatures, and you don't have to spend long at a zoo to sense the pain and unhappiness of many of the animals who are there.

Sadly, zoos may one day soon be the only thing that keeps us from being a planet populated only by humans, cattle, chickens, dogs and cats, mosquitoes, catfish, and the occasional pigeon. It's a pity. If we must build them, let's at least make them nice.


30-Second Quiz About Zoos

It's the year 2163, and the world is infested with Finsters, which are huge, highly intelligent mutant cockroaches that got their start way back in the twentieth century in a bio-engineering lab just off the Santa Monica Freeway. They all worship old Jerry Lewis movies.

You are one of only a dozen or so humans left on earth. It seems that humans just don't survive well in the Finsters' new high-tech world, and they are no longer able to reproduce naturally. You're given the choice of: (1) being put in prison for the rest of your life as part of an attempted artificial breeding program, or (2) dying out naturally in your own home.

Is relative freedom or perpetuating your species more important to you? What would you choose? What do you think a tiger or a water buffalo would choose?


Anonymous said...

1.zoo Look up zoo at
c.1847, short for Zoological Gardens of the London Zoological Society, established 1828 in Regent's Park to house the society's collection of wild animals. From comb. form of Gk. zoion "an animal," lit. "a living being," from PIE base *gwei- "to live, life" (cf. Gk. bios "life," O.E. cwicu "living;" see bio-). Slang meaning "crowded and chaotic place" first recorded 1935.

2.Zeus Look up Zeus at
supreme god of the ancient Greeks, 1706, from Gk., from PIE *dewos- "god" (cf. L. deus "god," O. Pers. daiva- "demon, evil god," O.C.S. deivai, Skt. deva-), from base *dyeu- "to gleam, to shine;" also the root of words for "sky" and "day" (see diurnal). The god-sense is originally "shining," but "whether as originally sun-god or as lightener" is not now clear.

Musn't confuse our Greek and Latin!

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