Why Zoos Are Nothing More Than A Trophy Case

Why Zoos Are Nothing More Than A Trophy Case

And why the only "good" zoos are the ones for conservation and education
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Despite my love for animals, I am not a fan of zoos or aquariums. I have never been to a zoo and I do not approve of petting zoos at state fairs. I have been to Disney's Animal Kingdom, and I have listened to their lectures about their animals and why those animals are there. I agree with Disney's intent, but that does not mean I am changin gmy stance on zoos. I recently went to a really sad aquarium and I wish I could've rescued all of the animals. Granted the most of the captive animals were classified as "cannot release" by the government, but still- I do not like zoos or aquariums.

Innocent animals are being slaughtered. In February of 2014, a Danish zoo killed a perfectly healthy giraffe and then fed its carcass to the captive lions in front of a live audience, which included young children. Copenhagen Zoo had euthanized “Marius”, the young giraffe to avoid inbreeding. Bengt Holst, the scientific director at the Copenhagen Zoo told CNN reporters that their “...giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes” and that sterilizing Marius “... he [would] take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes” (Naik and Gumuchian, n.p.). Cecil, a well-known male lion living on the Hwange Game Reserve in Zimbabwe, was lured away and killed illegally by a group of big game trophy-hunters on July 1, 2015. The death of Cecil was a big tragedy due to the fact that the thirteen year old lion has been the subject of research for over a decade with the Wildlife Unit of Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Cecil and Marius’s story is a common one among game reserves and zoos.

The first zoo was not actually built for the public. In 2400 BC, Shulgi the ruler of Ur, now present-day Southeast Iraq, started the first collection of exotic animals. In 1000 BC, Emperor Wen Wang of China later built a zoo to display his wealth and power. Named the “Garden of Intelligence”, the zoo spanned over 1500 acres and held animals from all over his empire, with the main attraction being the Giant Panda. The oldest zoo still in existence is the Tiergarten Schonbrunn built in 1752 for the imperial family in Vienna, Austria; it was opened up to the public in 1779 and is believed to be the first public zoo. The collection of wild animals has served many purposes throughout history since they first came into existence. The first zoos were built to display tremendous wealth and power, putting animals on display as if they were trophies to be gazed upon in reverence.

Animals are not trophies, nor should they be treated as such.

While the zoos in today’s society claim that their vocation is to serve science, conservation, and animal welfare, other members of the public would prefer to ban these institutions. Zoos and aquariums built for the purpose of entertainment should not be allowed to continue their malpractice because zoos cause detrimental effects on the animals by holding animals in unsuitable habitats, denying them of the life dictated by their genes, and trading the animals with other zoos as if they are baseball cards to satisfy display needs.

Zoos have detrimental effects on the health of captive animals. While zoos express a concern for the animals and their well-being, PETA believes that zoos are merely a “collection of interesting animals” rather than the havens they are thought to be (Carr). Zoos continue to capture wild animals to put on public display. In 1978, African elephants were listed as “threatened” under the United States Endangered Species Act. As of 2008, African elephants were reclassified as “vulnerable” as the world had seen an increase in their population size. In 2003, eleven African elephants were captured by the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Lowry Park Zoo, despite their E.P.A. listing of “threatened”.

Zoos are imprisoning animals who “want to be free”. According to Michelle Carr, PETA’s Action Team Coordinator, captive animals are “deprived of everything that is natural and important to them,”. The living conditions in zoos are anything but natural. Even the best artificial environment is no match for animals’ natural habitat. Confined to tight, barren, dismal enclosures, captive animals are denied their most basic needs and often begin to suffer from a common condition in imprisoned animals known as “zoochosis”. In 1992, Bill Travers, co-founder of the Born Free Organization, coined the term "zoochosis" to describe the odd, repetitive, compulsive behaviors associated with animals in captivity. Zoochosis can be characterized as many unnatural behaviors such as pacing, head bobbing, over-grooming, and self-mutilation. Abnormal aggressive behavior is a common and dangerous characteristic, where an animal's aggression is uncontrolled, in terms of intensity and frequency, or directed to the wrong individuals or objects. Abnormal aggressive behavior can be the result of overcrowding, isolation from companions or pressure from zoo visitors.

Of course zoo life would be ideal, if zoos did not inhumanely treat the animals and cause them to suffer from detrimental health problems, but society does not want certain species to go extinct. According to the Born Free Foundation in the United Kingdom, there are currently close to 5,624 species of vertebrate animals on the brink of extinction. World Wildlife Fund puts this in perspective with a detailed list that includes seventeen species of animals listed as “critically endangered” such as the Black Rhino and thirty-three species as “endangered”, which includes the Asian Elephant, and Bengal Tiger (n.p.). In 2014, the World Wildlife Fund, in collaboration with the London Zoological Society, published a study entitled “Living Planet Report 2014” that addressed the issue of species loss across the world by measuring trends in thousands of vertebrate species across the globe has shown a 52% decline from 1970 to 2010. In simpler terms, the number of animals, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, and fish, is half the size it was forty years ago. Habitat loss and exploitation through hunting and fishing are the main reasons for this drastic incline.

People- wake up and stop destroying our planet for the sake of the animals, and for the human race!

Cover Image Credit: HomeAway

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.

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As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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