It’s all Happening at the Zoo
When I was born we lived in Del Mar California. My first zoo was the San Diego Zoo. I was a lucky kid, my mom took me there all of the time, and I was a member of the Koala Club. Though we moved away when I was four, and I haven’t been back to visit in over twenty-five years, I sill remember many parts of that zoo. I have been to many zoos and aquariums within and outside our country. I believe that zoos are invaluable to human kind, because they bring us up close to animals that we would never have an opportunity to observe otherwise. They help humans develop an interest in, and care for, creatures that are much different from us. In the pursuit of understanding these creatures we learn more about the world. The animals that live in zoos are ambassadors of a sort. I believe that they, and the humans who care for them, do the job, in however small a way, of bringing our world closer together. Zoos are important.
I have a heavy heart today, because I am observing a wave of negative press being aimed at Sea World. Personally, this was the first park that we took our children to when we moved to Florida. They were four, and four, and two. We made a lot of wonderful memories there, and my kids learned quite a lot as well. Having been to all of the zoos that I have, I will honestly say that it is one of the cleanest and best run animal parks that I have been to. I have never observed an animal that looked unwell or poorly cared for at the park. They keep one of the healthiest looking polar bears that I have ever seen in captivity, which is important because they are one of the major animals that will show signs of stress when confined. Additionally, I have seen animals playing and enjoying themselves at Sea World. I love to go to the Orca show early to watch the young calves amuse themselves by sneaking up on the vendors and covering them in walls of water. I don’t know if it is true or not, but they sure look like they were having fun to me.
I also happen to be blessed with some wonderful friends who are employed at the park. I know them well, and I know their natures. Given the opportunity to meet my friends, people would find that they are the most ideal individuals anyone would ever want to have the job of caring for animals. They are some of the kindest most caring people that I have ever known, and the idea that groups are namelessly accusing them of being careless or cruel just kills me. The suggestion that they would not do anything and everything within their power to halt an abuse towards an animal is simply preposterous. The mere idea that people who work for an animal rights group know a fraction of what my friends and their coworkers do about these animals is ridiculous. The jobs working with animals at Sea World are not easy to get in the first place. Trainers spend years doing the hard jobs of caring for the animals and their habitat, and studying their behaviors before they ever get a chance to work up close and personal with them. Why anyone who wasn’t serious about their passion for working with animals would go through all of that just doesn’t make any sense to me. My friends volunteer at the animal shelter in their free time, they are animal lovers plain and simple.
The idea that the park is being negligent with the safety of its trainers is also something that I simply find silly. I agree with the argument that no one tries to shut down racecar driving when a driver nearly dies, and no one wants to end the game of football when a player gets seriously injured. For goodness sake, I can go sky diving tomorrow and possibly fall to my death, but no one is shutting down sky diving school. It is an assumed risk that intelligent adults who are responsible for their own safety assume. The idea that anyone knows more about an animal’s nature than the people who spend the most time with it, is unbelievable. I think that animal groups are pointing at Sea World because they think that it’s big enough to make an example out of. These groups want to end all animal captivity. If they were being reasonable, and calling for an end to entrapment, I might even understand their point. When you call for animals that have been raised in captivity to be released into the wild, you are calling for their murder. These animals cannot survive without being fed by the humans who have raised them. There are so many more incidents happening involving animals all over the country that are far more concerning. I haven’t heard about anyone calling out a circus in years. Ringling Brothers still tours with Elephants and Tigers, and I wonder how often those facilities are inspected. There was recently an incident where a woman went to the restroom while attending a circus in Kansas and encountered an escaped tiger in the bathroom. The numbers of incidents that happen yearly within the horseracing industry, where horses are poisoned and barns are burned, are numerous, but I don’t see anyone trying to stop horses from running. It has recently come to light that even the organizations that claim to be attempting to protect animals may be exterminating them in large numbers. Those stories are not the ones that we are hearing about though. Everything that goes on in every single zoo across the country may not always be ideal. I do understand this, but these animals do such a great service to the world. They inspire children to be interested in nature and in conservation. Zoos deserve a little respect.
This article disclosing discoveries about PETA, and is very difficult to read:
Here is a NY Times article about the reality of horse racing:
Here is a well-written look at the Blackfish film: