A Tame Zoo, 1932


This file appears in: The Great Depression and the Zoo
A Tame Zoo, 1932

In 1932, Sunshine - a 900 pound Russian bear - mauled and killed a zoo keeper. The death spurred local councilman Peter F. Reider to begin a campaign to 'denature' the zoo by removing dangerous animals from the grounds. The councilman's plan was captured nicely in his catchy slogan, "Feed people, not wild animals, they're too dangerous." Following a poll in a local paper, Reider claimed overwhelming public support for creating a "tame" zoo where carnivores would be replaced by birds and ponies. The legislation was voted down 22 to two. Reider would continue to act as a critic of the zoo throughout the Great Depression, often questioning the use of WPA funds for the construction of elaborate exhibits for animals rather than spaces that could be used by the public.


This file appears in: The Great Depression and the Zoo