Do you love animals?
Well, don’t claim it so quickly. Loving animals isn’t just about caring for you home pets and quickly bond with animals in general. What you do when you encounter exotic or extraordinary animals (most probably wild animals) also counts. In fact, if your form of entertainment involves watching animals doing human acrobats…Then maybe you don’t love animals as much as you think.
Animals has been used for entertainment purposes since as far as history could stretch. Up until now animals, particularly wild animals, are still exploited for our sole excitement such as in circus, festivals, zoo, theatre, and even on the streets (perhaps those of you who live or have visited Indonesia are familiar with ‘topeng monyet’ or the ‘mask monkey’ in which monkeys are trained to perform various activities such as riding a bike, all whilst wearing a mask).
Most of these animals are originally wild animals. Even to raise your home pets to ‘play dead’ or catch food require some disciplines, let alone taming these wild animals. You may guess how much of an effort (and cruelty) is put into training lions to jump over fire rings and monkeys to perform silly acts. Often times, they don’t even receive treatments equal to their sufferings.
Above all, just imagine how uncomfortable most of us are in front of the stage, let alone to perform. How do you think these animals could finally overcome their ‘stage fears’ and do acrobatic moves?
Do you also recall the times you dislike being stared at, which you would consider as a rude behavior? Well, that’s exactly how zoo animals feel behind the glass walls, a hundred times over (considering the sum of people visiting the zoo on a daily basis and double that every weekend).
Famously known for wild animals doing acrobats and other unnatural performances (magic, fires, etc), it’s not exactly a breakthrough news about the dark side of this jolly stage. Yet, circus lives on, especially for tourist attraction. Well, simply because there’s still demand for circus performance, even though it’s widely known that the trainers would beat the animals, keeping them in small and crowded cages, chain, starve, separate them from their mothers (ever seen the movie Dumbo?) and have them live under poor and filthy conditions. We know how bad they treated the animals, yet we choose to ignore it and still walk out of the decorated tent with huge smiles.
- Zoos and Aquariums
They are the safest place for interacting with exotic animals. Moreover, it’s one of parents’ favorite places to take their children, for they can entertain and educate their little ones in a single go. On the contrary, sometimes these animals are captured illegally from their natural habitat in the name of “conserving rare species” and keep them in glass cages of fake habitat. These animals are helpless when they feel any discomfort, which often comes from visitors staring, knocking and even yelling at them. Just try to imagine if it’s you in the cage instead of them to know how they feel.
There is another option for educating and entertaining your children without going to the zoo or aquarium: wildlife sanctuary. Sanctuaries are natural habitat that are protected by the government or authorized organisations from illegal activities such as hunting or land clearing. Their sole purpose is to conserve endangered animals. Sanctuaries are not commercially open for public in the sense of zoos or aquariums, but they are not completely isolated from visitors.
But, if sanctuaries are geographically out of reach and you simply just want to go to the zoo and watch animals, at least keep your manners for the sake of the animals. Ditch the old habits of knocking the glass cage, throwing random trash, and yelling at them.
2. Games, Rides, Contests, Races and other Cruel Animal Sports
Animal race has been an old tradition for some nations and even practiced for honorable occasions. The animals vary from dogs, horses, oxen, chickens and even exotic animals such as ostrich. However, racing causes trauma to these animals as they are often injured and abused both during the race and training. They are often bred for the sole purpose of race, so when the animals are no longer competent they are sent straight to the slaughter house. All their sufferings are for the sake of betting and traditions.
3. Street and Tourist Sites Entertainments
Familiar with horse rides or elephant rides at the zoo? Maybe part of your childhood memory? More often than not, these animals are starved and forced to work even when they’ve tired out. They also got injuries from ill-fitting riding equipments and from being forced to carry weight that exceeds their ability to withstand.