I like Clovis’ zoo and the people who work there, while still fully understanding that zoos should be private entities and not government-run.
Most of the negative comments I have read concerning the death of Jay, the male giraffe, 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 chose 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 government involved you end up forcing people to pay for things they would rather not. Be it giraffes or police or aircraft carriers. This causes understandable hostility.
I have no problem paying for what I use, including the zoo. And I believe 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 finance a zoo with tax dollars.
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.
De-politicize the zoo; de-politicize life.