Americans' Evolving Attitude toward Animals in Captivity

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Scientists now believe that all mammals and birds — even the octopus — are conscious beings, capable of thinking, feeling emotion and suffering. That's creating a sea change in attitudes toward the use of wild animals for popular entertainment. Sea World is still reeling from the documentary 'Blackfish' and now faces three lawsuits alleging mistreatment of killer whales.

Baylor, the Baptist University, has cancelled its annual visit out of respect for "God's creatures." Meantime, Ringling Brothers is retiring elephants from the circus. But, while there may be a "mood shift" against keeping wild animals in captivity, zoos and aquariums are still more popular than sporting events. Are there better ways to introduce kids to the Animal Kingdom, keep species from going extinct and make discoveries about animal intelligence and emotion?

Credits

Guests:
Sandra Pedicini - Orlando Sentinel - @SandraPedicini, Mark Palmer - Earth Island Institute - @earthisland, Barbara King - College of William and Mary - @bjkingape, Sarah Cunningham - Unity College - @UnityCollege

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Katie Cooper, Christine Detz, Sáša Woodruff