Friday, April 15, 2011

(Don't) Put Me In The Zoo

For my senior seminar, I have been studying nature documentaries. I know it doesn't exactly sound thrilling; but it has turned out to be so amazing. Growing up, one of my favorite books was Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire. The story is basically of a spotted animal who insists on being put in the zoo because of all the amazing things he can do (rhyme intended). After taking this class, I find the book to be incredibly disrespectful to animals. I'm sure many are thinking "how can you show an animal disrespect?" Well, by placing them in the zoo. We take animals out of their natural habitats, away from their families, and enclose them in tiny spaces behind iron bars or glass walls. To say that an animal does not feel a sense of anxiety by being placed in such a confined space would be ignorant. Yes, many zoos do have conservation efforts in mind. However, we really need to think about what these establishments are doing to the species and to the human-animal relationship. Through anthropomorphism, we turn animals into characters for our own pleasure. But what does this to do the animal? Before you take your kids to an aquarium, zoo, or circus, think about the kind of relationship you want them to have with animals. Do you want them to be seen as a species that lives in cages for our amusement, or for the beautiful and natural beings that they are? Go outside. Teach your family about true nature.