Hogle Zoo

UARC is opposed to any industry that views animals as commodities, keeps animals in small cages or enclosures, and deprives animals of the opportunity to fulfill their basic needs. Animals kept in captivity are denied the opportunity to roam dozens of miles, climb high in trees, forage, and form their own social groups and partnerships. As a result, many animals in captivity suffer from neurotic and self-destructive behavior1vice.com/…/why-we-should-close-all-zoos-778, such as endlessly pacing back and forth or self-mutilating. This is why we have protested the Hogle Zoo and encourage Utahns not to visit or support the zoo.

Utah does not resemble the natural habitat of many of the animals found at the Hogle Zoo, including giraffes, elephants, lions, zebras, and orangutans. Often, these animals at Hogle Zoo are kept indoors during our cold and snowy winters, which is clearly not a natural environment and comes with a host of welfare issues.

Giraffes at Hogle Zoo are confined to a warehouse-like building during Utah's cold winter months.
Giraffes at Hogle Zoo are confined to a warehouse-like building during Utah’s cold winter months.

Zoos often try to claim they are saving animals from a rough and brutal life in their increasingly shrinking wild habitats. However, zoos do not go to the wild to find animals on the brink of death and rescue them. Zoos across the country, including Hogle Zoo, breed animals so that they can have new cute baby animals that make the headlines and increase guest numbers, and as a result increase profits. Further, research demonstrates that the zoo industry’s claim of educational value are false. A 2014 study found that a majority of children who visited a zoo had no positive educational outcome, or even had a negative outcome, meaning that zoos actually instill false and misleading information about wildlife biology and conservation.2Jensen, E., 2014, Evaluating Children’s Conservation Biology Learning at the Zoo, Conservation Biology, Vol. 28, No. 4, 1004-1011

Captive breeding does not help animals who are becoming endangered due to human activity, and collecting animals in Utah with no intention for rehabilitation and successful release back into the wild will never save a species from extinction. The easiest way to help preserve biodiversity and endangered animals is to stop eating meat and dairy products that are destroying the rainforest3greenpeace.org/…/amazon-cattle-footprint-mato.pdf, creating dead zones in marine and inland waters4ncifap.org/…/212-4_envimpact_tc_final.pdf, and contributing significantly to climate change5time.com/…/vegetarian-diet-climate-change.

Two baboons enjoy the freedom of space and exploration in the wild, something zoos will never be able to replicate. Photo by UARC.
Two baboons enjoy the freedom of space and exploration in the wild, something zoos will never be able to replicate. Photo by UARC.

In addition to ticket sales and donors, the zoo gets funding from tax dollars through the Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) program. Historically the zoo has not effectively documented how ZAP funds are spent. Many projects like the construction of a new $7.7 million dollar entryway and a $2.5 million dollar café have been criticized as a poor use of money6le.utah.gov/audit/02_02rpt.pdf.  

UARC is excited to support tax dollars going to our arts and parks, but advocates the removal of zoos from the ZAP tax. At a minimum, UARC urges county officials to split this item and create two different votes on the ballot, so that county residents who care about animals can vote to support humane arts without also being forced to vote in support of zoos.  

References   [ + ]

Fighting Speciesism and Cruelty to Animals in Utah