The votes are in and the animals had already lost, although that’s not how it’s being widely reported. On Tuesday, May 6, voters in Franklin County, Ohio, were asked to approve an increase in public funding for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and to make that increase permanent. Franklin County voters overwhelmingly rejected the ballot proposition.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, “the zoo’s request for a permanent, 1.25-mill property tax was rejected by 70 percent of Franklin County voters … It would have cost homeowners in Franklin County $44 a year per $100,000 of property value; the current levy costs $21 a year. … That 10-year, 0.75-mill property tax doesn’t expire until the end of 2015.”
The story garnered a lot of attention because the proposition was opposed by the Ohio chapter of the Koch brothers’ right-wing influence machine, Americans for Prosperity. Not surprisingly, wildlife prison cheerleader-in-chief and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna supported the proposition. Both sides, unfortunately, are in the vile business of exploitation.
A post-election analysis piece in The Columbus Dispatch explains that the permanent increase in public funding “would have funded construction of a Downtown zoo and new and renovated exhibits at the main zoo in Delaware County, as well as ongoing operations.”
While such national news vehicles as MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes have focused on the political implications of AFP getting involved in a local ballot initiative, I’d like to point out that the losers on May 6 were not the zoo’s self-serving boosters but the creatures who’re serving life sentences in that wildlife prison — animals whose lives have effectively been stolen from them by men and women like Hanna who offer all sorts of lame rationalizations for keeping animals in captivity. Those rationalizations are nothing more than cheap, insulting excuses for mankind’s callous arrogance.