I was appalled by what I saw at the petting zoo today. Two goats were hiding under a picknick table to escape the hoards of tourists. There were people surrounding the table, blocking any point of escape the goats might have had, taking pictures and trying to pet the goats under the table. There were dogs barking at the rabbit and birds, scaring them.
Whether petting zoos themselves are morally acceptable is a different discussion. But if you are going to have a petting zoo in a location that gets thousands of visitors a day, you need to have it supervised at all times. You need to limit the number of people who can enter at a time. You need to make sure the animals have a shelter they can retreat to where they will not be bothered. You need to make sure the tourists are not harrassing the animals when they are trying to escape. You need to keep dogs away from the neighboring paths. The current setup is irresponisble and cruel.
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