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Zoo or Prison?

The improper treatment of wild animals that are being locked up in artificial environments and used for profits is cruel and diabolical.

“I think the discomfort that some people feel in going to the monkey cages at the zoo is a warning sign.” -Carl Sagan

Photo courtesy of “Mickey Brennan blog spot”

The fascination and excitement of zoos contradict the cruel and unusual actions that are inflicted on the animals confined within these cages. Our eagerness to gain more knowledge comes with a price and the cost is the imprisonment of wild lives.

 Zoos have been around since 1763. Most, if not all of us, have reminisced about the gratifying and comforting memories we’ve experienced there. Whether it was a family outing or a school field trip, the zoo has always been a popular attraction for people of all ages. However, as we grow older, we start to recognize the trauma these animals have endured. From months to years of captivity, their freedom and health are slowly being stripped away. Sources of entertainment like; seals jumping over hoops are alarming, considering the fact that this is not their natural behavior.

The thrill of witnessing species that reside in zoos overshadow the fact that 75% of snakes, lizards, and tortoises die within one year of being held captive. A whopping 96% of Elephants who are kept in captivity for tourists and attractions live in unacceptable conditions. 

In 2007, Aaron Leider, a Los Angeles resident, sued the Los Angeles Zoo due to their abuse of the elephants: Jewel, Billy, and Tina. The zoo was known for utilizing bullhooks and electric shocks as an incentive for the elephants to perform tricks. The lack of space for Jewel, Billy, and Tina to walk around decreases their essential time of exercise. As a result, their legs developed Arthritis and foot pain. A year , in 2008 at Discovery Cove, a dolphin named Sharky died after colliding with another dolphin while performing a stunt. The minimal room that the dolphins were put in increases the chances of tragedies like this to occur even more frequently. Both cases were forgotten and named as “freak accidents.” 

 Consequently, the coercion and maltreatment lead many animals to become depressed. Marine species are no different. Dolphins who’re held in captivity in locations such as Seaworld and aquariums in zoos become victims of stress and mental illnesses that lead to suicide and self-harm. Not to mention the overabundance of Chlorine inflicts harmful skin conditions that in some cases are incurable. Given these points, consider the possible actions you can commit to in order to improve the animals’ health and their living environment. Organizations like “African Wildlife Foundation” and “International Fund for Animal Welfare” offer opportunities for you to donate money in order to help maintain health and freedom to a variety of endangered species. 

Ultimately, the next time you’re offered a trip to the local zoo ask yourself what does the freedom and preservation of wildlife mean to you and whether or not you’re a contributing factor to the mistreatment of these animals.

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