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Book Chapter

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We human animals make rapid technological and cultural advancements because we have the ability to pass definitive information to succeeding generations. But we also accept too much from the past without challenge. The good, the bad, and the indifferent are muddled together, accumulating in layers that smother each succeeding age. Cultural mores ranging from the silly to the profane, from charming to dangerous, clutter our world. They exist only because, as the British are wont to say, “We have always done things this way.” One very troubling example is the public zoological parks found in almost every city: they are fundamentally unchanged from the first public zoo that opened in The Regent’s Park in London in 1828. Although significant modifications have taken place since then, particularly recently, for the most part, zoos continue to do things the way they have done them for almost two centuries. An objective reevaluation is long overdue.