The focus is on the animals, it is said. Then you should ask the question why the entertainment area with display lanes, show booths and other amusements in zoos is taking up ever more space when visitors are only interested in the animals. Finally, we drag our children in rows to the zoos to teach them about exotic animals, to instill in them love for the living, it is said. You don’t have to train children to love this living thing, because they have it from the start. You can only train them. One of the best ways to do this is to visit an animal shelter. Quite apart from the fact that most visitors do not spend more than a minute in front of the respective cage, which suggests an enormous amount of interest, the type of exhibition primarily conveys that it is okay to remove wild animals from theirs tearing ancestral territories, putting them in tight, musty, bald cages, removing them from their social organizations and owning them. The lesson from this can only be that we as humans take away the right to capture free individuals and to control them. The emperor of the animals struck again. Therefore, it is probably better not to look too closely, because that could trigger an empathy boost. But luckily, we are so dull that the mentally disturbed elephant or monkey, which keeps rocking back and forth in the same way, does not stand out. You just keep going. Of course, many animals have an outdoor enclosure that is still an affront to the areas they roam freely. How can you learn about natural behavior, as many zoos claim? The animals have to spend the winter months in the inhospitable indoor enclosures anyway, the nights in tight boxes.
The contribution to species protection, which is also often claimed, is actually a farce, because it was only the zoos that brought some species to the brink of extinction, because for every animal that arrives at the zoo dozens dye during the hunt or perish during transportation. Also, what the highly acclaimed investments in nature conservation projects are a mere wiping out of the eyes, because if you invested the money that the zoos devour, including high subsidies from taxpayers‘ money, it would be far more effective. It is an obvious lie that the animals that have been caught or raised in captivity are obviously a lie, because how can an animal that knows nothing else than the cage find its way in the wild? They are mentally and socially highly disturbed by their stay. Surviving in freedom would be impossible.
But the birds that are exhibited right at the entrance seem to be comfortable, because they do not fly away, is assumed. It is not surprising that they do not fly away, because they simply cannot do it, because they are made flightless, either by cutting a wing bone with a filament or by squeezing the shoulder joint immediately after hatching. They can never show their natural behavior. It would make more sense to watch a documentary film that shows the animals in their natural environment.
For a short Sunday fun, millions of animals have to suffer in captivity all their lives. Zoos are the purest anachronism and completely devoid of meaning and purpose, apart from asserting themselves, probably also because there are many lucrative posts with high social prestige. This saves on nursing and specialist staff, so that they are mostly unqualified workers who, with the abundance of animals they have to look after, can do nothing more than feed them and clean the cages. There is no time for close observation.
But the kids are more likely to head to the playground anyway after scaring the poor creatures in the petting departments by running after them and throwing stones at them. What fun, so that the frightened creature can finally move. Then it goes to the in-house restaurant, in which not only domestic animals are offered for consumption, but often also exotic ones, which one supposedly had just observed with such enthusiasm, for at least a few seconds. But who cares, people go away, into the life they have, into freedom, while the animals can only dream of it.
Jo-Anne McArthur, Captive
Laura Zodrow & Colin Goldner, Zirkus & Zoo