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  • eek! I mean, zounds!

    July 24, 2009

  • We know that animals in zoo suffer from “zoochosis,�? a term used to describe obsessive, repetitive behavior such as incessant pacing or head bobbing. We know that the law only requires animals to be provided a cage “large�? enough to allow them to stand up, lie down, and turn around. We know that the complex emotional and social relationships animals need to thrive are destroyed in captivity.

    the edge citation

    June 30, 2008

  • You're likely to find this word used by animal rights activists in reference to what they see as the degrading effect of zoos on the animals they contain. Many animals, especially the large carnivores, become deeply depressed, even psychotic, as the result of captivity. Symptoms of zoochosis include nervous pacing, head rocking, and self-mutilation. The problem is perhaps most acute with polar bears, which have proved especially difficult to keep sane, and which often show disturbed behaviour such as swimming for hours in small circles. (The Central Park Zoo in New York had to call in an animal psychologist to find ways to give its polar bear, Gus, a more varied and challenging environment.) The word, a blend of zoo and psychosis, seems to date from the early 1990s, but is still fairly specialist and hasn't — so far as I know — yet made it to any dictionary.

    (from World Wide Words)

    May 28, 2008