Friday, August 26, 2005

Chicago not for humans, scientists tell aldermen

Is there any way out? The death toll is appalling: 3 elephants, 3 monkeys, 2 gorillas and a camel.

Summer has been a quagmire of bad news for Lincoln Park Zoo. It's a blaze stoked by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a group with a Greenpeace-style flair for the pseudo-event. This week PETA brought a researcher to Chicago to tell the City Council that elephants in the city don't get enough exercise. Perhaps this prompted the aldermen to pass up the donut break in chambers. They shun the heat, which makes Chicago their primary habitat. Or maybe they're drawn to the grease.

Farm in the ZooThe zoo was buzzing with children and their handlers the other day when we wandered afield from the pancake house at Lincoln Park West. We recall trips to working farms in our childhood, but Farm in the Zoo would be as close as most visitors likely would get. Every animal an exotic find, we stared at the alpaca sheepishly. Is their captivity sheer torture? The free world, which finds them so captivating, places their cages close at hand, and prisons at a great remove.

A sign at the primate house cheerfully said the gibbon was on the mend. It admonished that the injury was brought on by reaching for food tossed by a patron, tactfully not mentioning the subsequent amputation. We just love our animals to death.

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