A Review of
The End of Captivity? A Primate’s Reflections on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics
Reviewed by Marilyn Matevia
According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, more people visit zoos in the United States each year than attend games for all four major league sports, combined. It’s an impressive number, especially considering that zoos in many parts of the US have lower attendance during winter months, while sports events draw crowds throughout the calendar year. For many, there is undeniable attraction and entertainment value in a zoo visit, or we wouldn’t be flocking to the gates in these numbers. What accounts for the attraction? Why do we find animals in zoos so enthralling?
These are among the questions Tripp York asks in his new book, The End of Captivity? A Primate’s Reflections on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics. He also poses the more fundamental questions behind them: what does our fascination with captive animals reveal about us, and about our views on our place – and their place – in creation? Why do we keep animals in captivity (especially in zoos and aquariums)? More importantly, when we keep animals in captivity, are we enabling, or thwarting, their God-given purpose? And what IS their God-given purpose?