There has been some controversy lately about keeping an elephant named Lucy in an Edmonton zoo. Edmonton gets a fair bit of snow in the winter and the videos I’ve seen show Lucy walking around in the snow.
Edmonton is a city in the north of Canada and Lucy is probably the northernmost elephant in all the world.
I think it’s a pretty awful thing to do to keep an adult female elephant all by herself without the company of any other elephants. After all, elephants live in herds. They are not supposed to live solitary lives.
But there is a much larger question and a more important one. That is about zoos in general.
Maybe they were a good thing when they were first created some one or two hundred years ago. But are they a good thing today? In my opinion, they are not a good thing. As a matter of fact, they are just bloody awful and the same goes for these SeaLand places that keep Orcas and other mamals in terrible conditions.
I asked myself the question, “What is the value of zoos”? One value is that people can learn more about animals by seeing them up close than they can by watching videos. But how much more can they learn? That advantage is offset by the fact that animals in a zoo do not behave much like they do in the wild. So how accurate a picture do people get of these animals by seeing them in a zoo?
Another question I asked is, “Who benefits from zoos”? The owners and workers clearly have a vested interest in keeping them going and if you look into some of the news stories, it is unbelievable the lengths to which these people will go to keep their zoos open.
But the animals are essentially imprisoned and restricted from living the kinds of lives they would live in the wild. Anyone I know who has ever spent any time in prison (even as little as one day) say the one thing they took away from their prison experience is that they would never again visit a zoo and any time they could do something to help close down zoos, they would do it for sure.
What about you? Do you think zoos are a good thing and we should support them? Or are they part of the 19th century mentality that figured slavery was an important economic value?
I can’t equate zoos with human slavery. But I sure do think zoos should be phased out from our modern world. In my opinion, they just stink.
Here are a couple of links concerning Lucy. There are plenty more. Just Google “lucy edmonton elephant”