The norms of animal welfare are important at zoos, but they are not enough. We cannot let ourselves believe that a bigger cage or facility or environmental enrichment is the best we can offer these animals. We need to set ourselves bigger challenges; we need a paradigm shift.
Neither do we believe that closing zoos down is a good idea, although we can put an end to current zoo logic, which is a 19th century logic, the logic of “using” animals – instead, we need to move on to the idea of “usefulness” of zoos for them and for the planet. Closing a zoo would simply waste the opportunity to transform it.
We can transform an institution that attracts more and more criticism every day for its obsolete logic into a space that provides shelter, attention, assistance and opportunities to animals that don’t have any – injured animals, exploited animals, abandoned animals. A zoo relies on its professionals, their knowledge and suitable facilities to become a space of social, animal and environmental service. And this is where our proposal comes in.
Between improving welfare conditions without a restructuring project and a paradigm shift and asking zoos to close, we believed that there was plenty of room for debate and action – the action of change. This is how the ZOOXXI proposal came about.
So what does it propose?