So today I decided that I wouldn’t mind going to prison, being told when to eat, sleep, clean, and live behind bars. I thought, WOW, what a great idea.
Jokes. But this is how what I imagine being the human equivalent for a zoo… not so great.
To say that animals don’t have any sort of emotional spectrum is just a joke, Bekoff (2007) states, “Many animals have rich and deep emotional lives and are clearly and overtly sentient”. Bekoff furthermore describes “evidence that animals such as cows, whose emotional lives are infrequently considered, can be moody, hold grudges and nurture friendships. It is not surprising that animals do not like being shocked, cut up, starved, chained, stunned, crammed into tiny cages, tied up, ripped away from family and friends, or isolated.”
So why do we continue to objectify animals? We objectify them as food, ‘bacon’ instead of ‘pig’, so we don’t feel bad about that, and so much goes to waste, so many slaughtered animals for wasted food.
We also objectify animals as entertainment in zoos..
As children, we are educated and told that zoos are where they protect the animals; but little do we know that they would have had to rip these animals out of their natural habitat and from their families, and flown them to a foreign country that their species is not an occupant of, to be studied and used as a tool for amusement. It is sad that this is still the reality; I believe that in the next 70 years, zoos will no longer be around because of this ever-growing opinion and truthful education of the negative effects that zoos have on animals. In a recent survey, only 32% believed that zoos should remain for educational purposes; but after looking into the reasoning’s of this percentage, many are extremely uneducated and believe dramatically false information about zoos. A proper education about the habitats and ALL the effects that a zoo has on its animals, should be available to the public, so that children aren’t taught that visiting the zoo is ‘entertaining’.
I find that the only place for some moral justification in this topic, is for holding animals captive, in attempt to help a species to repopulate if they are nearing extinction, but even still, I am not 100% with this argument, because “the benefits to the overall species population do not compensate the individual animals for the negative effects of living in a zoo”. But to even look deeper into this argument, a recent “study found that extinction rates over the last century were 114 times higher than they would have been if humans had not been around. Fully 396 species have gone extinct in 100 years. Under normal conditions (that is, without the presence of humans) that loss should have taken 11,400 years.”
So how can we justify that locking sentient creatures up for “protection” is ethically OK? Humanity takes away and use up more resources than we need, and then feel bad about it once it’s done. I understand that not all man kind feel this negatively towards animals; but the fact is, that’s its still happening, we are playing god in something that is not to be tampered with, and were losing.
But to just lock animals up in a zoo, or for personal amusement or entertainment is just cruel. To be ripped away from your family as a child, not knowing what’s going on, or unable to communicate, and basically placed in the equivalent of a prison cell, but with strange creatures staring at you all day? What do you think this would do to the psyche? The negative affects overwhelmingly out weigh the positive.
So to conclude, I wouldn’t actually like to live in a prison at all, I like my family, and where I live, and I definitely agree that if someone stole me so that I could live in prison for the rest of my life, I would probably be depressed and want to kill everyone.
Bekoff, M 2007, ‘Reflections on Animal Emotions and Beastly Virtues: Appreciating, Honoring and Respecting the Public Passions of Animals’, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 68-80. (Viewed 30th March 2017)
Comis, D, 2005 ‘Settling Doubts about Livestock Stress’, Agricultural Research (Viewed 30th March 2017)
n.a, 2014, “Animals For Entertainment”, BBC, Available From: < http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/using/entertainment_1.shtml > (Viewed 30th March 2017)
Casey, 2015, “Humans Are Behind The Mass Extinction Of Animals”, CBS News, Available From: < http://www.cbsnews.com/news/humans-are-behind-the-mass-extinction-of-animals/ > (Viewed 30th March 2017)
n.a, n.d, “Should animals be kept in zoos?”, Debate.org, Available From: < http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-animals-be-kept-in-zoos > (Viewed 30th March 2017)
n.a, n.d, “5 Secrets Zoos Don’t Want You To Know”, PETA Kids, Available From: < http://www.petakids.com/save-animals/zoos/ > (Viewed 30th March 2017)