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Some Perspectives On The Topic Of Animal Cruelty

January 26, 2019

Zoos: I have visited several zoos over the years, and I have had marvelous experiences resulting in unforgettable memories. There is controversy about whether animals should be captive in zoos. There are, however, many zoos that have spent millions of dollars creating enclosures that closely if not exactly resemble those of the resident animal’s natural habitat. Many years ago, I visited a small wildlife reserve in California. I was riding around the park in a Jeep, and we parked at the top of a hill. Far below was a mama zebra with her very young colt. The mom was peacefully grazing, but her baby was full of life and boundless energy. The little fellow would take off running in a long straight line behind his mom, kicking up his heels and leaving clouds of dust behind him. He would tear back to his mom’s side, then again take off running in the same straight line, repeatedly. It was adorable, and that image remains in my mind. Then there was my visit to the Miami Zoo. On this particular day it was early, overcast, and much cooler than a typical Florida morning. All of the animals were out and about, extremely active. It was a joy moving around and watching the animals interacting with each other. One activity that left a lasting impression was with the elephants. The herd was relaxing, throwing dirt over their backs. There was a youngster, quite small, and an adolescent, possibly an older brother/sister. The little one was being very pesky, constantly head butting and striking the adolescent elephant with its trunk. Suddenly, one of the adult elephants, undoubtedly the youngster’s mother, took a couple of steps forward, reached out with her trunk and wrapped it around the little one, forcibly pulling it to her side. Mama says, “stop the shenanigans!” That same day, I observed the chimpanzees. They were also relaxing, while the youngsters frolicked. There was one very young little fellow, again playing with an adolescent. There was a small incline, and the adolescent sat at the top. The little one would come to the top and curl in a ball, and the adolescent would give a gentle push, watching the wee one tumble down the hill. They did this over and over. It was so entertaining to watch. And it amazed me to see the similarities between these animal babies and human children. On my visit to the Philadelphia Zoo, I went to see one of the shows that are featured throughout the day. One of the attractions was an unfamiliar African bird, the name of which I cannot remember. It was explained that this particular bird would pick up insects and kill them by smashing them into a rock. To demonstrate they placed a little plastic scorpion on the ground. The bird zeroed in and continuously picked it up, smashing it against a nearby rock over and over and over again. The presenter attempted to continue her lecture, but this bird’s determination and persistence overshadowed everything, and she finally had to remove the little plastic insect. I was laughing so hard I was crying. It was one of those things that, I think, you had to be there. But I hope you can imagine the scene. It was hysterical. At the Philadelphia Zoo, I also visited the vampire bats’ den at feeding time — where they gave them bowls of blood. EEEWWW. Freaky, but fascinating. Although I am sure not all readers will agree, I am pleased to see that most zoos of today put the needs and quality of life of their animals first. Not all zoos, but many. Some will offer a breeding program for endangered species. Animals in zoos are fed regularly and maintained on a healthy diet. They are protected from their natural predators in a climate-controlled environment, and they receive quality vet care. Animals in the wild are free. Of course, they are subject to all of the struggles that are presented to them on a daily basis, and only the strong survive. This is a harsh reality. I am glad to have lived to see how zoos have evolved from cages to natural habitats with no bars. I watch “The Zoo” on Animal Planet regularly and enjoy the show very much. The staff is extremely committed to the animals in their charge, including the goose named “Gert” who wanders freely around the grounds. Gert has become quite a celebrity since the show’s beginning. Filming takes place at the Bronx Zoo in New York. However, not all zoos are animal friendly. Although most zoos are of a high standard nowadays and many are even encouraging breeding programs for endangered species, it is still argued that animals should not be kept in captivity but encouraged back into their native environment. There are an estimated 5 million animals in zoos worldwide and a report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals showed that only 1,200 out of the 10,000 zoos worldwide are registered for captive breeding and wildlife conservation and that only 2 percent of the world’s threatened or endangered species are registered in breeding programs. In some Chinese zoos, live killing is encouraged where people can feed wild animals. In the Badaltearing Safari Park, visitors can drive through the lion’s compound on buses with specially designed chutes leading into the enclosure into which they can push live chickens. In the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village near Guilin in southeast China, live cows and pigs are thrown to tigers to amuse visitors. We certainly view these things as barbaric, and it is impossible to think that these horrible activities continue and are permitted to “entertain” guests. Animals as Food: Like many readers of my generation, we were raised on meat and potatoes. Meat was a staple that accompanied every meal, without question. I have always loved animals, and it never occurred to me that the packaged meat I was consuming came from a living and feeling creature. I now eat less meat than I did of days gone by, but I am admittedly not a vegetarian. Kudos to them. It is easy to see why vegetarians and vegans are prominent campaigners for animal rights. Animals on factory farms have no legal protection from cruelty that could be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats, including neglect, mutilations, genetic manipulation, drug regimens that cause chronic pain and crippling, transport through all weather extremes and gruesome and violent slaughter for human consumption. It is my hope that in the near future animals raised for human consumption will be given the treatment, care, and conditions that they deserve, not in the name of financial gain but rather humane consideration. We can all make a difference in the humane treatment of animals. Such kindness can pay it forward and make this a more peaceful, loving, and non-violent world for humankind. Dog bless. Resource: Listverse Judy Endo writes about pets. Contact her at judyendo@outlook.com.

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