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This is a participant observation study of animal/human relationships at zoos. Both zoo personnel and zoo visitors were observed intensively over a period of four months and less intensively for two years. While young zoo employees tended to be naturalistic, ecologistic and scientistic in their value orientation toward animals, these attitudes were often frustrated by the day to day routines of the job involving hosing and feeding, and the realities of limitations placed upon zoos by strained budgets and antiquated buildings. The public tended to be an additional source of frustration due to their apparent lack of sensitivity and desire to be amused rather than educated.


This is the edited version of a paper originally presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, New York, NY, 16-18 March 1979.