September 15, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Zoo Wants You in the Cage

Visitors to the Zagreb Zoo get to walk through displays detailing the ways in which humans “contribute to the destruction of wildlife and the environment,” and then spend a little time in a cage that was deemed unsuitable for the foxes and martens who were its previous inhabitants.  The zoo calls humans “the most dangerous species on the planet.”  In March of this year Animal Friends Croatia staged a similar stunt to protest the treatment of chickens on commercial farms.  Although they object to all zoos as a form of prison, in April the group gave the Zagreb Zoo a passing grade on its treatment of animals.

The animals in the Zagreb Zoo appear to be safe and well treated, but what about the people?  They are subjected to a series of accusations and then put into a substandard cage as if to say, “You are guilty, and you deserve to be caged.”  They are then free to tour the rest of the zoo, basking in shame for enjoying the experience.  Maybe there should be a dispenser of complimentary Prozac at the front gate.
    The Agence France-Presse press release was accompanied by a file photo only identified as “a lion in his cage at a zoo.”  Pictures from the zoo’s web site and the statement from Animal Friends Croatia indicate that this was a stock photo and was probably not taken anywhere near Zagreb.  AFP was trying to add a little more drama to the story.
    There is no doubt that people have done some very irresponsible things in regard to the environment and the treatment of animals, however Genesis is clear that humans are not merely another species of animal, but distinctively persons, made in the image of God.  If people have done some stupid things in the past, the answer is not to do more stupid things.

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