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Zoos=Prisons & Hell

I can remember my first visit to the zoo. Looking back on it, I recall it being so disturbing and surreal. Looking back on this experience I recall there being something smashing up against my young and forming cognition. “This isn’t right.” A voice seemed to whisper ever so lightly, in the distance. The primates in particular, pacing back and forth, while some sat in the corners of the room staring off into the void seemed to have something stripped from them... Their souls. Their dignity. Their freedom.

A challenge to you. Spend one full day in your bathroom or a closet, without leaving. Imagine being forced to live in this size of a room for the rest of your life.

Zoochoisis is the abnormal behavior in animals caused by time in activity. There have been many studies now done on the adverse effects zoos cause in animals. Born Free an amazing and reputable organization succinctly lays it out here- Animals have evolved over millennia and their physical, physiological and behavioral traits are specifically adapted to their natural habitat.

However, life in captivity differs substantially from life in the wild. Space, social interactions, diet, climate, presence of humans and many more aspects of their life may be completely alien compared to what they would encounter in the wild. Captive animals cannot choose their environment or carry out behaviors necessary to enhance their welfare or survival. Rather than having a safe and easy life in captivity, animals may face a number of challenges which evolution has not prepared them for.

If the captive environment does not fully cater for the species-specific needs of an animal, or if it imposes unnatural stress or frustration, there can be a deterioration in the animal’s physical and mental health. This may manifest in the development of physical disease or abnormal behavior.

Abnormal behavior in captive animals can include stereotypic behaviors – highly repetitive, invariant, functionless behavior, such as repetitive pacing, swaying, head-bobbing, bar-biting, over-grooming or excessive licking. These behaviors result from “the frustration of natural behavior patterns, impaired brain function, or repeated attempts to deal with some problem” (Mason, 2005).

You can watch the disturbing behaviors here.

Recently Marc Bekoff Ph.D. who is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado has written a compelling piece, (one of his many) on Zoochoisis and how zoos have failed the animals they have imprisoned for profit and gain. It has been proven that zoos do not in fact educate the attendees and less people leave zoos more knowledgeable on the species confined in these horrible institutions or their dwindling natural habitat and how to get involved in conservation. And let’s face it, zoos do NOT conserve by far and large. Again, they are speciesist entities with very oppressive agendas and antiquated mindsets.

Zoos do not play a significant role in the conservation of wildlife, their claims to educate are exaggerated and their research is compromised.

No matter how you cut it, zoos are outdated and cruel. World renowned conservationist Damian Aspinall lays out a very compelling case as to why, here.

If people want to actually conserve and protect the species in our world, consider supporting these organizations instead of zoos.

"Other animals, which, on account of their interests having been neglected by the insensibility of the ancient jurists, stand degraded into the class of things. ... The day has been, I grieve it to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated ... upon the same footing as ... animals are still. The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps, the faculty for discourse?...the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?... The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes... " Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832)


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