Zoos, Aquariums Profit from Animal Abuse

Sarah Fidahussain, Student Life Editor

Imagine paying money to watch humans live in a cage. That is what we do to animals in the zoo, making a mockery of their habitats and putting them in solitary confinement. 

Animals are put in glorified cages, and we pay money to watch them suffer.

I remember seeing Kali the polar bear for the first time at the St. Louis Zoo in 2015. I anticipated her arrival, thinking how amazing it would be to see a polar bear. It was not until a few years ago I realized how truly wrong it was to keep a polar bear in St. Louis.

According to DW, polar bears in the wild travel 150,000-square-kilometers, and the polar bear enclosure at the St. Louis Zoo is 0.0037-square-kilometers. If that seems adequate to you, try living your life only in your bedroom and having hundreds of people watching you the entire time.

Humans are not the only animals that need a companion. Killer whales are social animals but have been kept in solitude in aquariums like Seaworld. John Hargrove was a former trainer for 12 years at Seaworld and told the Smithsonian the whales were “forced to perform tricks for food that trainers withheld as punishment.” 

These whales are confined in a concrete cage filled with water and packed with chemicals that cause many of the animals to go blind and develop arthritis, Hargrove told The Guardian. 

Seaworld’s most infamous killer whale Tilikum was nabbed from his pod at 2-years-old, traumatizing him while his mother continued to follow the boat until she was not able to, according to One Green Planet. It is horrifying how we have separated whales knowing well these intelligent creatures are not much different than us. He lived the rest of his captive life in misery. Tilikum died at 35-years-old when the average lifespan for a whale is around 50 to 90 years.

Ripped from his pod, put in a glass box and forced to perform for food and Seaworld excused it just for profit.

The feeling of being trapped in our homes is something we have all felt during the COVID-19 lockdown. This is how captive animals feel every day. We have the nerve to feel suffocated being in lockdown but these animals are put in cages and endure abuse every day. 

Humans have caused 1 million species to become endangered according to NBC, and we have the nerve to trap them for entertainment and call it rehabilitation.

If you really care for the rehabilitation of animals, giving more profit to zoos and aquariums is not the answer.