Friday, February 11, 2011

Clovis zoo should be private effort

Clovis zoo should be private effort

Like many people in the area I was saddened by the news of Jay the giraffe's unfortunate death. I like Clovis' zoo and the people who work there, while still fully understanding that zoos should be private affairs and not government-run entities.

Most of the negative comments I have read concerning the death were related to the perception that money had been wasted by the city on a giraffe. This cuts to the heart of why government has no business being involved in things of this nature (among others).

It doesn't bother me if a local restaurant spends its profits on a diamond and ruby chandelier to hang above the dining room. After all, I didn't pay for it unless I choose to eat there. The same goes for my neighbor: as long as I am not subsidizing his lifestyle it doesn't hurt me if he drives a Lamborghini. I might think money is being wasted in both examples, but I have no say in how they spend what is theirs to spend; nor should I.

However, anytime you get a government involved you end up forcing people to pay for things they would rather not. Be it giraffes or police or aircraft carriers or a local politician's mistresses. This causes understandable hostility.

I have no problem paying for what I use, including the zoo. However, I believe that people who don't want to subsidize my recreational activities should not be forced to do so. It's that "crazy libertarian" nature in me raising its head again. I could go to a privately-run zoo and feel good knowing that the voluntarily-collected money that could be used for animal care is not being used for bureaucracy instead, and secure in the knowledge that no one is losing their home or business in order to shell out to the local government in order to finance the zoo.

A privately-run zoo could buy all the giraffes it wants and it would be no one's business other than the owner's. It could even receive donations to finance special exhibits just like government-run zoos often do. It could do what it thinks is best for its animals and customers without running the political gauntlet for every decision and without people feeling their money had been wasted. It also wouldn't be used as a "community service" sentence for people who crossed swords with often-arbitrary government rules. Maybe I could even get a job at a private zoo as "designated rat shooter".

De-politicize the zoo; de-politicize life.

Added: It turns out Jay impregnated (that's "knocked-up" to those who didn't progress beyond their government school education) the female giraffe before he died, so I guess the zoo still got a second giraffe out of the deal- about a year later.

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