Shut Down Zoos and Stop Imprisoning Captive Animals
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Do you remember the excitement you had when you went to the zoo as a child, or how happy you were to watch the live animal shows? When I was a kid and went to the zoo for the first time, I was so excited. I happily waved to the caged animals, oblivious to any sadness, stress or boredom in their eyes.
Yes, animals do indeed suffer in zoos. They’re forced to be separated from their homes and families; some of them are abused and even killed by zookeepers. For example, on February 9th, 2014, an 18-month-old giraffe was killed and dissected to feed the lions in the Copenhagen Denmark Zoo. When people asked, zookeepers gave a ridiculous reason: they had killed the giraffe because the zoo simply had no need for it. The zookeepers could have freed the giraffe and acclimated it to the wild but instead, they killed it, dissecting it in front of many young children. It’s difficult to imagine how this influenced the children, and now is the time for us to teach our younger generation to respect nature and regard all living creatures equally.
Besides the abuse suffered by animals in captivity, they also don’t have enough space to live. These animals used to live in nature; they used to run free on the prairie, soar in the sky and swim in the ocean. Now they are all restrained by the limited space in their enclosures. As time goes by, some animals become more and more frustrated or depressed with their confinement. For example, captive orcas at Sea World swim in endless circles and gnaw on the metal edges of their tanks, breaking their teeth; the keepers drug them to manage their psychotic behavior. In the wild, these animals would normally travel about 140 miles every day. If we put ourselves in the position of animals in captivity, living in a zoo would be a human being living in prison.
Moreover, it’s very common for zoos to have circus shows, where the animals are trained to perform for paying zoo customers. The training process is always hidden behind the scenes: animal trainers often inflict pain on the animals to make them respond to the trainers’ commands. They may also grind down the animals' sharp teeth or inflict other types of abuse.
It is argued that zoo enclosures are the animals’ homes, but that is simply false. We should be good stewards over these animals but instead, humans often abuse, torture, and even kill them. Animals are creatures of the world just as much as humans are, so how can we deny and deprive them of basic rights? I believe most people reading this want to see animals treated with respect. I urge you, therefore, to take action and help these animals by doing just one thing: actively boycott zoos. I believe that with this one simple action, over time we can create change.
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