At the Zoo (excerpt)

Somethin' tells me
It's all happening at the zoo.

The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.

Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.
What a gas! You gotta come and see
At the zoo.

—Simon and Garfunkel

I used to think of zoos as creating opportunities for conservation education and some connection with the natural world. But a recent visit convinced me that zoos mostly enshrine our separation from nature and dominance over other animals that have been put on display to serve our voyeuristic impulses.