“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Zoo and Kew Gardens no longer cheap days out.

We are lucky in this country to have some wonderful free museums and galleries to wander around. A godsend  on a wet day while waiting for the pubs to open. The great and good of a bygone age thought that we might better ourselves, that a bit of culture might rub off on us on the run up to opening time and well, "gawd bless you guvnor", they may have been right. For children the museums of South Ken are a wonderland. I don't know what it is with small boys and dinosaurs but The Natural History Museum certainly hits the spot. Another two cheap days out for Londoners were The Zoo and Kew Gardens but no more I'm afraid. It's well within living memory that you had to put a penny in the turnstiles to gain admission to Kew and didn't we moan when it went up to threepence. An adult ticket will now set you back fourteen quid, although to be fair kids do go free. Generation of parents knew that when it came to a day out with the kids a trip to the zoo and an ice cream was a dead cert and would not break the bank. Well you can forget about that - adult admission is now twenty five pounds with under 16's not far behind at eighteen quid. No wonder that these two old favourites are now patronised mainly by foreign tourists and wealthy pensioners.

8 comments:

Dr Llarregub said...

It is outrageous that zoos charge so much for entry. At £14 for kids and £15 for adults its impossible for mum, dad and two kids to spend a day there. And once inside there are so many things to buy - the kids like the toy animals, ice creams, and so on. But here is an explanation of the rising costs. One of my many jobs is ethical advisor to a major zoo. I look into conditions of the animals, and the zoo's purchasing policy. An example: we decided not to pinion birds, but that is costly in terms of space. Every welfare decision - and there are many - increase costs. Read about purchasing toys from countries where child labour is exploited. Our zoo sells many toy animals, but we installed an ethical purchasing policy which means we buy more expensive toys from local manufacturers with a good record. Food: for example, we could buy fish and other products really cheap but don't because we have an ethical purchasing policy and only buy from acceptable sources. The list goes on.I have problems with the Secretary of State's guidelines, and one day will blow the whistle, but basically costs continue to rise. Sorry folks.

Gitanex said...

As kids it was over the wall into Kew gardens and one pays rest under the turnstile at London Zoo, Chiswick open air baths was accessed through a back garden and over a cement wall (negotiating barb wire), buses were a free ride between stops hopping on and off the platform (the conductors couldn't be arsed to argue), British Rail was bunk on hide in the toilets or walk down the train through the emergency doors whenever the conductor came on jump off at the next station. We used to smudge the dates on old tube tickets to fool the conductors who couldn't be arsed to argue (we were once herded in a carriage in Wimbledon and forbidden to get off because it was tennis week!). Trouble is that now I'm too old and stiff to break a few rules like I used to. I do fancy a crack at the Zoo for nothing any takers?

Anonymous said...

It's not about economics. It's about making the zoo and Kew safe playgrounds for the rich so the hoi polloi don't get in to point and laugh at them with their silly red trousers.

Dr Llarregub said...

I still maintain that welfare pushes costs up. When you took the family to the zoo and had ice cream and change from ten bob, you saw gorillas caged for 20 years in a ten by 15 steel cage, birds with wings clipped behind glass, lions walking around in circles half crazy. At the zoo I work in we ensure that all local kids are subsidised by the county for school trips, where they are provided for in an education block with videos and talks before meeting the animals. No plots to keep the workers out. Our zoo is run by several councils representing several hundred workers, each council with delegates from the various departments. Bit like anarchism eh, but without censorship and Mr Asbo stunts. I oversee that actions taken are in line with agreed ethical policy. Boring eh. But it's democratic and non profit making, and so far I have not heard anyone suggest they keep the zoo just for the toffs. Not all my recommendations are likely to be accepted. I would love to feed peadophile gangs who rape and torture working class children to the wild animals, but I understand this is racist. I would like to see a world without zoos, but that is unlikely so we do our best to see that ours - one of the largest in Europe - is both democratic and not run for profit. There are also circuses to deal with and I look towards accepting an invitation to a Europe wide council for the welfare of performing animals, whether or not Mr Farage takes us all out of Europe. So let's keep some perspective, not every institution is plotting against the working classes.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an animal rights sort and I was a member of some kind of London Zoo club as a kid - it really was so cheap that I could visit using my pocket money. Aged 14 I read Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation and a book called "All Heaven in a rage" - can't remember the author but the title is a quote from a poem. This changed my attitude to animals and to zoos forever. I last visited London Zoo in 1985. It was depressing. Animals which normally range over many miles of jungle, savannah or tundra every day kept in enclosures. For what? For our entertainment. For research. For breeding purposes. The last enclosure I saw had timber wolves in it. In the middle of London. Why?

Dr Llarregub said...

Anonymous, as you will know Peter Singer is not an animal rights supporter; he is a utilitarian of sorts (his ideas are based on Bentham, founder of the Victorian workhouses)and is opposed to animal rights. I have had several confrontations with him and his departure for Yale meant that one of my students got his job in Australia. We are now on opposite sides over USA health care. Small world. Basically his views are shared by welfarists in the UK government, that we can use animals for human ends as long as unnecessary suffering is not inflicted on them. I take a different view. Sad thing about zoos is that without them many species will become extinct. So the welfarists try to maintain good conditions or 'positive welfare', as they call it. In welfarist managed zoos the conditions you describe are being abolished.But here is the problem, which neither the rights people nor the utilitarians seem to be able to deal with. Most animals cannot be released to the wild diseases, predation - and too many countries are exterminating them, and zoos which supposedly protect the species are euthanasing large numbers in the interests of cost benefit strategies - a piece of Singer's crap. Check out the Edinburgh protocol. I have continued this discussion out of respect for your views but urge that anarchists/left whatever, sort their positions out on rights, utility, and liberation. To state my own position is to say I take a feminist view, calling the three main positions forms of justice ethics, which have to be identified with the prevailing capitalist ideologies. Too bad the left lump it all under animal rights.

Anonymous said...

"To state my own position is to say I take a feminist view, calling the three main positions forms of justice ethics, which have to be identified with the prevailing capitalist ideologies. Too bad the left lump it all under animal rights".

This makes no sense at all to me.

Dr Llarregub said...

Apologies Anonymous. The information you require is out there and I do not want to fill this blog up with explanations of the competing political theories. But sometimes over simplification which you require can allow the other side to win the battle. Never mind, stick to Mr Asbo stunts and rail against the toffs. Best wishes.

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