Monday, May 06, 2002

"Onion or not?" Story of the Week
A staff writer asked the the zoo for an animal's medical records after the death of a beloved giraffe. The zoo said no. Why?

...The Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo has taken the position that viewing animal medical records would violate the animal's right to privacy and be an intrusion into the zookeeper-animal relationship.
..."One reason [for denying the records request] is privacy," [Zoo director Lucy] Spelman wrote. "Certainly, the privacy rules that apply to human medical records, and the physician-patient relationship, do not apply in precisely the same way to animal medicine at a public institution like the National Zoo. But we believe they do in principle."

Now: Did I find this story in (a) the Onion or (b) the Washington Post? Click the link for the surprising answer, as the story takes an unexpected turn.

(Let's hear some more about this special zookeeper-animal relationship they don't want to intrude into.)

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