Zoological institutions have been around since 1847. Whether for educational purposes or fun, almost everybody has been to a zoo before. Originally, zoos were established to educate the public on particular species and how they interact with one another in their habitats. However, studies are discovering that zoos are not as harmless as they may seem. Animal abuse and captivity is inhumane and therefore, should not exist any longer.
Around Fall of last year, I decided to stop going to Zoos. I would no longer be contributing to the funding of zoos, which are responsible for their existence. Zoos are primarily for profit, attracting tourists from all over the world. In recent years, there have been various cases of animal abuse and mistreatment in these institutions. In a zoo in Copenhagen, Denmark there was a “surplus” of animals, and as a result, the zoo publicly fed a baby giraffe’s cut up body parts to the lions. The zoo killed a baby giraffe solely to make room for another animal that was being located there. After this happened, many people were shocked and began to question the affairs that take place in zoos behind closed doors.
In addition to animal mistreatment, many of the animals held in the zoo are too intelligent to be locked up in cages or behind glass walls to be stared at by intimidating species, like ourselves. Trading and relocating animals is a huge part of the zoo industry. This can be extremely stressful for animals, as they are forced to leave behind social bonds and an environment they have grown accustomed too.
Elephants have been found to be similar to humans, capable of a range of emotions, such as joy, playfulness, grief and mourning. They are even able to learn new facts, mimic sounds, use tools, and display compassion as well as self awareness. Like humans, elephants share a highly convoluted neocortex, allowing them to have similar intelligence capabilities to humans. They are one of the few creatures that are born without survival instincts and learn these skills during infancy and adolescence. Elephants can live for over 70 years, but in captivity, many die before age 20. Furthermore, it is inhumane and unjust for us to strip these animals of their freedom, and allow for them to be placed in such a stressful environment.
With online access to tv programs like Animal Planet, and the magazine National Geographic, there is no doubt that zoos are no longer needed to serve a purpose for educating people on the animals that we coexist with on this Earth.
Animals that hold high levels of intelligence and are capable of undergoing stress should not be kept under abuse in captivity, and should be able to roam freely in their natural habitats. Don’t contribute to animal cruelty, be part of the motion to end zoos once and for all.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKI COMMONS