I'm fairly aware of people that are "anti-zoo" but I guess I never realized how many people are actually against zoos until now.
This person, this woman, this zookeeper (name is unknown) does a phenomenal job of answering the question of "What do zoos do?"
Click the link and take a gander. It's slightly lengthy but well worth the read.
Here's a slight sum-up.
Zoos that are AZA, that is Association of Zoos and Aquariums, credited do the following:
*Have high standards of exotic animal care (stricter that the USDA guidelines for sanctuaries)
*The Species Survival Plan to help breed animals that are endangered/on the brink of extinction
*Reintroduction of some species into the wild
*Conservation work to protect the homes of these animals
*Education and Outreach so people can understand animals as a being and not a thing
She does an amazing job, has lots of links and references, and points out that people need to question and inform themselves of all of the facts before they leap on a bandwagon of hating something (or loving something).
I have to say that I am very happy that we have the Milwaukee County Zoo. It is AZA credited and definitely one of my favorite places to go to. Even though a lot of it seems the same, I can never get sick of it.
The author of the response challenges readers to go to a zoo and observe the animals for a half hour or an hour to watch what they do. Watch their mannerisms and try to imagine what they are feeling or what they are thinking.
This is a good challenge for any sort of living creature, slightly more difficult with plants, but the concept that needs to be understood is still the same.
If you do have a story about an observation that you had, share it! When it gets a little warmer outside (about freezing would be nice) I'm going to go back there and I'll share my little tidbit.