Disclaimer: This post will be a bit of a ramble, so bear with me.
One of the things I really dislike about the world is how humans have a tendency to cage things. Animal cruelty, as much as it may have reduced since back in the day, is still a massive problem we are facing. Sometimes it’s not even intentional cruelty but pollution/littering that causes some animals to be in agony.
I saw a video, not long ago, with a turtle in it. A man had that turtle on his lap while another person tries to pull a straw out of his nose. It was painful to watch and I cannot imagine how painful it was for the turtle going through that torture. It made me happy when it was finally out and it can be free to breathe as it did before the straw got stuck up there. There are various other videos I have watched and truth be told it makes me sangry (a word I just made up describing the intense feeling of sadness and anger).
I’m no psychology major or expert, in fact I barely know anything about psychology at all. However, I do know that people who go about torturing innocent beings (be it people or animals) may have gone through some sort of trauma in their lives for them to do such mental things. Unless you’re like Geoffrey from GOT then you’re just a very bad human being and you have no defence. Having said that, Geoffrey was probably mental because of incest? Who knows. Going back to the point I was trying to make, people who trap or abuse helpless animals may have been a victim of some sort of abuse too and it’s just a vicious cycle.
Now that I’ve set the thought process behind this post, let me dig a little deeper to explain the title of the post. Why do we trap animals and keep them in Zoos? They’re meant to be wild and free. Just like us when we were created, it’s like the saying goes, you can take an animal out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the animal.
I think that applies to all of us in some ways. I guess the most specific way it applies to humans is that we want freedom, freedom to do, say, wear and be how we want. We may have become more sophisticated over the centuries, but have we really? We’re more “superior” in some ways compared to other animals because of our minds and the ability humans have of sharing knowledge. Having said all that, we’ve build massive cities with tall sky scrappers and it’s like an urban jungle as stated in BBC’s documentary titled “Planet Earth”(it’s an excellent 6 part documentary, you must watch it). In the cities we have built, we’ve put ourselves into boxes (aka apartments,villas, houses, etc) so how does that make us free? That would explain the thought process behind Zoos. It’s like subconsciously people envy the fact that animals are truly free and humans being “superior” have caged themselves and in turn they cage animals. Arguably, yes we do roam around freely but at the end of the day we go back to shelters we have built (aka our cages, which we pay good money for). It’s so interesting, the way people are.
Food for thought?
Hmmm. I have mixed feelings about zoos. On one hand, there are some truly brutal zoos out there that are overcrowded and not at all well thought out, where they seem more concerned by the visitors than the animals, and I have been to a couple of these and felt miserable (Heidelberg Zoo and Madrid Zoo come to mind).
On the other hand, there are zoos that I think are doing GREAT work. They’re the minority, but for me, they are what zoos are supposed to be. Dublin Zoo, for a small zoo with limited space for expansion, has been getting better and better, to the point where now if you visit you are not guaranteed to see the animals; their enclosures have been built with the animals’ needs in mind, with privacy and space and places to hide and greenery. San Diego Zoo is also brilliant. Chester Zoo seems like it has the right idea (I haven’t been to Chester yet so that’s just from what I read). If you’ve watched Virunga (on Netflix?), I think ideally endangered animals would all be protected as fiercely as the gorillas in that documentary. Sadly, they’re not. We screwed the pooch. We damaged their homes and we have a responsibility to protect them. Zoos are not perfect, but they (GOOD zoos) are a way to try to bring awareness and raise money for conservation and save species’ that would otherwise now be extinct.
As for people, I think we have lost our way a bit. Everything has become very removed. I am a half-hearted vegetarian (I am a big foodie so not eating meat is difficult). I read a quote by Peter Dinklage, of all people, that read, ‘I like animals, all animals. I wouldn’t hurt a cat or a dog… or a chicken or a cow. And I wouldn’t ask someone else to hurt them for me. That’s why I’m a vegetarian.’ It made me feel so guilty, because I also could never hurt an animal, or ask someone else to hurt one for me, and yet I still eat meat? So I’ve almost stopped. I’ve tried to stop eating anything I know I wouldn’t be able to kill myself. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I miss stews and ham sandwiches and chorizo. I still eat meat if I go to somebody’s home and they cook it for me, but it’s getting more and more difficult to ignore the guilty feeling…
Anyway, that was a tangent. What I meant to say is that humans have sort of divorced themselves from nature. I think everyone could do with a little more interaction with the countryside. A little more of a walk on the wild side. There’s a whole world out there! We were never intended to stay in little boxes.
Definitely food for thought…!
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I agree, like everything there are pros and cons. I do see the benefit of zoos, for example it keeps the animals safe from poachers, also helps the animals from being extinct (pandas are no longer endangered).
We have lost our ways and I’m in the same boat as you in relation to being a borderline vegetarian. However my meat cravings are mad and I’ve only limited it to having cow, goat/lamb and rarely chickens. Not that I’m justifying the killing to satisfy my own needs but I think sometimes its not black and white.
You’re right about us being detached from nature too and if i can blame anyone (except us) I would blame our phones/technology.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this 🙂 I really appreciate your perspective
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It’s definitely not black and white. I really fought being even this vegetarian for many years but I think my access to that fake meat stuff – Quorn? – is making life a lot easier. If there were decent cruelty-free meats or meat substitutes I would be delighted! Come on scientists! Grow me some meat in a lab so nothing has to die so I can satisfy my cravings!
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Haha right?! To think scientists would have gotten that down by now.
Quorn is pretty good! 😁
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