The criminal and heartless punishment of zoos.
If humanity is prepared to accept that Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler Saddam, Mugabe and a lot of other similar human garbage had souls, then I am more than content to believe that animals, most of them blameless and pure, have souls too.
I have a deep loathing for the arrogance of mankind which finds nothing wrong in capturing wild animals and condemning them to life imprisonment without any possibility of parole or remission of sentence for good behaviour. For an animal sentenced to zoo, life really does mean life. A murdering paedophile or a serial rapist can be out and free in twenty years, and usually long before that.
I have stood before the miserable, dank, dark cell occupied by a demented leopard, crying my eyes out as I watched this wonderful creature, imprisoned for the delectation of children and adults alike, pace back and forth in a repetitive pattern of insanity born of desperation. Bears, elephants, antelope, apes, almost every species known to the Earth, subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by mankind. It is almost more than I can write about.
Just yesterday, I hit the wrong button on my TV remote and found myself looking at a programme called Animal Park, hypnotised by the sheer horror of what I was seeing. Animal Park? Trying to disguise its purpose with that ersatz-cute name. It’s a ZOO! It’s a damned ZOO! Among much else, about ten giraffes, two Siberian tigers, penguins, and … a lot else. Ten giraffes! In a small paddock and enclosures! I wanted to scream. According to my wife, I did. What have these poor creatures done to be punished like this?
I have listened as zoo-keepers and zoo-owners justify what they do on the basis that almost every zoo these days does behind-the-scenes work in preserving species which are endangered and on the verge of extinction. I don’t care.
I would rather see an animal species disappear altogether than have to capture and incarcerate even one of them in the interests of saving that species. That, in the immortal phrase, is exactly like fighting for peace or fornicating for virginity. Countless species — indeed millions, have gone naturally into extinction over the Earth’s millennia, in the absence of any assistance by man. And now, given that most of those presently in danger of disappearing are endangered as a direct result of the monstrous mess made by man, we compound the crime by striving officiously to keep them alive in conditions which are little better than a living death. To salve our consciences?
If, in certain cases, and sadly there are several, an animal’s natural habitat has been almost totally destroyed as a result of man’s madness and selfishness, then it is cruel and unusual punishment to breed those animals in captivity, on the criminally wrong basis that they or their progeny will, eventually, be released into the wild — because there is no wild for them to be released into.
No. The overwhelming reason for the continued existence of zoos is that there are still those of a Victorian or even older mindset who believe, in their insanity, that zoos are a form of theatre for bored humanity and must be maintained.