Dublin Zoo is urgently appealing for public financial support after the Government’s lockdown resulted in a 90% loss in revenue, it says.

The Zoo – which is a registered charity – has running costs of about half a million euro per month. But most of this money is generated by gate receipts. On Wednesday October 21st, the Zoo was forced to close its doors for the second time this year. The Zoo now says that it’s very future survival is at risk.

It’s issued an appeal for donations:

€500,000 per month works out, of course, at six million euros per year. Is there a single person in the country who would oppose an emergency grant from Government to keep the Zoo open?

There are those of us, of course, who are uncomfortable with the idea of Zoos, since they feel that keeping wild animals in artificially small, and restricted spaces, is inherently cruel. But those objections had far greater relevance decades ago than they do today.

The simple fact – from an animal welfare point of view – is that even if you have some sort of moral objection to the zoo, most of the animals who live there could never be safely released anyway, having become so accustomed to humans. It’s not a question of whether zoos are good or bad, it’s a question of do we feed the elephants, or euthanise them.

Besides, Dublin Zoo does some genuinely great work, if you’re an animal lover like me. They fund and participate in 25 separate conservation programmes worldwide, and it’s home to breeding programmes for 35 endangered species. It’s also inarguable that a great many animal lovers, including this one, fell in love with animals by visiting the zoo.

Anyway, questions about the morality of zoos aside, there’s also the question about the morality of lockdowns.

The zoo, after all, is not struggling through any fault of its own. Until this year, it was surviving particularly well. It’s suddenly reliant on charity not because visitor numbers fell, but because it was forced to lock them out.

Like many other businesses up and down the country, it’s being forced to the verge of bankruptcy by Government policy.

It should not have to rely on charity to survive. The Government closed it down. And the Government should pay the costs of that. It’s only fair.

Update: Common sense prevails.