Bronx Zoo: Stop Serving Food that is Destroying Wildlife Habitat.

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TL;DR Version: Animal agriculture is the #1 cause of wild habitat destruction and biodiversity loss across the world. Considering we are in the middle of a man-made sixth mass extinction of life to occur in the Earth’s entire history, I encourage the Bronx Zoo to stay true to its wildlife-conservation mission and feature a wildlife-habitat friendly menu at the various eateries in the park.

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As a former volunteer docent at the Bronx Zoo, I really enjoyed revisiting the park recently. However, I was truly disappointed by the absolute lack of plant-based food options throughout the park, especially considering the conservation focused mission of WCS (the organization that manages the Bronx Zoo, among others).

Before you dismiss my disappointment, please allow me to make my case:

Animal Agriculture is the #1 Cause of Deforestation Across the World

"There’s a single, major occupant on all this land: cows. Between pastures and cropland used to produce feed, 41 percent of U.S. land in the contiguous states revolves around livestock."

Source: Bloomberg 

This exorbitant land use by animal agriculture (which comes at the expense of wildlife habitat) isn't just limited to the US; for example, extensive cattle ranching is the number one culprit of deforestation in virtually every Amazon country (Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, etc.), and it accounts for 80% of current deforestation.

Source: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Animal Agriculture is the #1 Reason behind Global Biodiversity Loss

Raising cattle for flesh and milk is the primary source of deforestation and biodiversity loss across the world, not just the United States. In fact, according to a 2017 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study, Appetite for Destruction, 60% of global biodiversity loss is due to land cleared for livestock agriculture.

Source: Appetite for Destruction (2017), World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF UK)

You see this conflict between the livestock-industry and wildlife play out in the US too: from the annual culling of bison in Yellowstone at the behest of cattle ranchers, to the killing of wolves to protect livestock in the Pacific Northwest.

And we all know the end result:

96% of all Mammals on the Planet (By Biomass) are Humans and Their Livestock

Calculating biomass estimates, researchers estimate that 60% of all mammals on Earth are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs, 36% are human and just 4% are wild animals.

With these points, I am NOT trying to make a case against serving primarily animal-based products at a conservation institution based on animal-welfare, human-health or even climate-change related reasons.

The points above strictly focus on the fact that serving food from an industry that is devouring all wildlife habitat around the world and driving biodiversity loss and extinction CONTRADICTS the valuable and important work of organizations like WCS.

People look up to organizations like WCS to lead the way forward for a better world. Please consider my request with an open mind and be part of the needed change; feature a plant-forward menu at the various eateries, cafes and restaurants in the various zoos and parks run by WCS.