What’s Wrong with People?

I read the following headline and I felt sick to my stomach:

Kangaroo Dies After Visitors At Chinese Zoo Hurl Rocks To Force Her To Jump

What would motivate someone to behave in such a way?

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is in the mistaken belief by many that animals are not sentient beings, that they do not have emotions or cannot feel pain.

Even among some animal lovers, they may treat some animals, like dogs and cats, with love and compassion, but not do the same with other animals. Seems like inconsistent behavior, behavior that would create some cognitive dissonance.

Once.e a person is in such a state, they will try to come up with evidence to support their beliefs, but the evidence is usually biased (confirmation bias).

I must admit to having such thoughts until I started reading a few books about animals, books that I felt provided pretty clear evidence that animals are sentient beings and deserving of our respect and compassion. I think having such beliefs has made it much easier to be a vegan if I were just doing it for my health (the positive impact on the environment is another powerful reason to be a vegan).

Many, if not most vegans are strong opponents of zoos, and thus would claim that this problem with the kangaroo would not have happened if there were no zoos. I have mixed feelings about zoos.

I would assume that the people who work at zoos love all animals, but have a special love for the ones they work with. So I don’t think they would purposely harm any animal.

In addition, I think zoos offer people a chance to learn about animals, both the researchers and the five year olds. Researchers may find a way to bring back a species from near extinction, and seeing them face to face brings such learning to life for the five year olds.

So those are the good things about zoos.

But at its heart, zoos are a prison that we have created for animals, further reinforcing the idea that we are superior to all animals, and thus can treat them this way.

Also, zoos are obviously not the natural environment for animals, and thus zoos create a life for these animals that is not the life they were meant to live.

That’s why I like animal sanctuaries so much; they seem to offer all the benefits of a zoo, while avoiding some of the problems.

I hope the outrage that exists over the kangaroo’s death will spur people to think about how all animals should be treated – with respect and kindness,

4 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with People?

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