The Detroit Zoo will become the first major zoo to stop exhibiting elephants on ethical grounds because they can develop arthritis and stress-related ailments in captivity, officials said on Thursday.
"Elephants seem to be intelligent and even social in ways that are similar to humans," Kagen said. "Elephants can suffer from similar things to what we suffer from when we're in difficult environments."
Confined to zoos and circuses, elephants develop physical problems and neurotic behaviors such as rocking back and forth and aggressive behavior, he said.
"If we don't feel like we can (keep elephants), then the question is, who can and how?," he said. "For us, there really is a big question about whether elephants should be in captivity at all."