"Lyndsay, why do you hate the zoo?"
First of all, let me just say, I haven't always hated the zoo. I used to love it as a kid. And that is exactly how I think it should be. Kids should love the zoo. It's there for them.
I certainly appreciate the point of zoos. They exist so that kids can see real live animals they would otherwise never get the opportunity to. Let's face it, there aren't exactly herds of elephants wandering down state street. I think allowing kids to be that close to these creatures is important from a conservation standpoint. Who wants to protect what they don't know? The only way future generations will appreciate the ever-diminishing animal kingdom is through experience and interaction. And from that perspective, I appreciate zoos.
But I, personally, can't visit them anymore. Last time I went to one, I bawled my eyes out. I can't stand to look at magnificent living creatures in the equivalent of a jail cell. The giraffes' winter kennels really got me. I love giraffes more than any other animal in the world. To see four of them packed together in a cement box, probably about 8 ft. by 10 ft. with nothing but a few bunches of hay to munch on (not even what giraffes eat in real life) was too much for me.
And the big cats. Maybe their eyes are glassy in the wild too, but don't they look like they're crying? How immasculating to be locked in a glass box and thrown food by someone who is just there for the old nine to five. Their ancestors ran! Their wild brothers tackle zebras and use their ninja shit to fend for themselves. It's too sad for me to even think about.
I've heard that keeping a dolphin in an aquarium is the equivalent of keeping a human in a bathtub for their entire lives. Except worse because of all the noise they make that just drives them insane. Now, I'm no animal expert, but doesn't that just sound heartbreaking?
Recently when I brought this up, a friend said, "well, some people live in boxes their whole lives. That's sadder because people are more important than animals." Fair enough. Everybody has their own values, and yes, people living in the equivalent of boxes also depresses me. But I think of animals as babies. They can't help where they are. They can't defend themselves. They can't rise up and against the perpetrators.
So, that's why I hate the zoo.