On Sunday I went to the children’s zoo in Battersea Park with my close friend. She suggested the idea and so naturally we went together. The park was quite small compared to the usual zoo, nevertheless it was a fun experience perfect for children. There were mostly farm / domesticated animals there with some small wild animals like monkeys to meerkats. And there were a lot of children.
As a child I used to love going to the zoo, as I believe 99% of children like to do. The animals are fun and fascinating to look at. However, the question of the ‘rightness’ of how fun it is to look at animals in a zoo occurred to me when I went vegan (for 3 months) when I was fourteen (I am still fake vegetarian now – as I eat fish). It is a conversation I like to have with people – and in this post I write my scattered thoughts on the debate as I have not yet reached a definite conclusion.
Firstly, to put it simply, it is MEAN to put animals behind a cage – so why does it seem acceptable and as we say, fun to cage so many animals in a zoo? Some argue for the educational purpose; children get to see wildlife up close. Others say it is for entertainment. And if we were to put it straightforwardly, I think it is for human entertainment. We go to the zoo with our family and friends to be entertained for the day. And like many other areas in the entertainment industry, it is a business to profit off.
When I was speaking to my friend about this, we came across the idea that maybe it is okay to keep the domesticated animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, donkeys…) in zoos because they are already domesticated and don’t need that much space. But then again, why it is okay to keep some animals caged and not others (as why is it okay that we eat one animal but not the other)?
My friend and I agreed that we wouldn’t want to be kept in a zoo – then she remarked, unless she was an old and retired animal, then it would be nice to have a zookeeper take care of her. I thought it was a fair point. Maybe it does come down to the type of animal (as some zoos help in the preservation of them etc.).
So I suppose again we come back to the idea that it depends on the animal. Like people, maybe some don’t mind being the centre of attention and having cameras being pointed at them while some need more privacy and space to roam. As I say, I have not come to a definite solution – I say if the animals are well taken care of then I am happy to enjoy these animals as is so widely and socially accepted.
Bonus: here are a few photos I took on the trip (it is still sad to see these colourful creatures behind bars – especially the birds).
Are you confused like me about the rightness of zoos or do you have a strong sense of right/wrong on this issue? Help clear my confusion in the comments!