Humane Voters of Washington says the parks levy includes $36 million to fund the zoo, which is a private entity.
“In zoos animals are denied the most basic instinctual behaviors that are important to them—like courting, mating, roaming, climbing, foraging and choosing others of their own kind with whom to socialize. As our communities’ acknowledge that even under the best of circumstances captivity cannot begin to replicate wild animals’ lives and habitats, it has lead to a 10-year trend that is unmistakable and accelerating: attendance at WPZ is declining while the region’s population is booming,” according to the Humane Voters of Washington website.
“Since 2002, King County and Seattle taxpayers have provided nearly $200 million to WPZ. Yet as a private organization the zoo is exempt from public disclosure laws which means there is little oversight or transparency about WPZ’s care and treatment of the animals, despite partial funding from public sources. Rejecting this levy means that fewer dollars flowing to the zoo will ensure fewer wild animals suffering in zoo captivity.”
What Woodland Park Zoo did with the elephants who once lived there was particularly heartbreaking. There’s been a lot of coverage about the suffering of elephants in zoos — Michael J. Berens’ series in The Seattle Times exposed the profit motive behind allowing that suffering. The New York Times last week published a magazine article about the fact that elephants continue to be taken from Africa — as supposed “rescues” — despite “mounting evidence that elephants find captivity torturous.”
So do other animals.