Indeed, zoos claim that their very purpose is to encourage people to connect and care about animals. This, they say, is how they teach people about the natural world. Without holding animals captive, they say, the public simply wouldn't be able to care. We need animals to look at, to hear and to smell in order to make the connection. Emotion plays a vital part.
And yet, with all this talk of connection, compassion, emotion and caring, when it comes down to justifying actions which those outside the industry find abhorrent, emotion is not only invalid, it is positively frowned upon. When it comes to killing healthy animals that the zoo has worked so hard to make us all care about, our outrage is misguided, we are told. When it comes to demanding answers, we are told we simply don't understand. When we say what we feel, our feelings are dismissed.
In my view, that an industry which is collectively responsible for millions of animals is not only seeking to quash our concern over its actions towards them, but to tell us that our concern for the individual is wrong, is frightening.