Becoming Animals, Unbecoming Humans
This chapter discusses ideas of human responsibility for animals, along with debates over the ethics of animal captivity. These discourses began to shape the orangutan's appearances in zoos more than a century ago, albeit in a more limited range of ways than is evident in fiction or film. By the early 1900s, innovative zoo directors were attempting to present exotic animals in more humane, quasi-natural contexts rather than in bare cages. This mode of presentation lent itself well to incorporating educational and scientific goals as part of the Western zoo mandate, leaving institutions that did not establish themselves in such terms to continue as mere animal show grounds.
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