6/9/2017, Indianapolis, IN
Every year, the Indianapolis Zoo hosts is premier fundraiser, Zoobilation. This is an opportunity for wealthy zoo supporters to come together and spend an evening among the animals while enjoying cocktails and luxury cuisine, in order to “support the Zoo and its mission of animal conservation.”
Sadly, the zoo patrons do not seem to realize the disconnect between their intent and their actions. Much of the cuisine provided is actually dead animals – just not the dead animals that the zoo deems worthy of protection from human interest. The only reason it’s acceptable to eat cows but not zebras is because humans have deemed it so – but both of these animals are capable of forming emotional bonds with both humans and other animals alike, and suffer fear and pain when faced with death. In the wild, many animals must kill others in order to survive; in our society, there are a plethora of other food options available that do not necessitate the exploitation and slaughter of sentient creatures.
Despite the fact that animal agriculture is the number one contributor to species extinction worldwide (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/08/meat-eaters-may-speed-worldwide-species-extinction-study-warns), Zoobilation proudly serves up pounds upon pounds of slaughtered animals, apparently oblivious to the loss of life that occurred not only from those animals being eaten but also in the destruction of natural habitat of endangered species in order to feed and raise said animals. Though all human development inevitable results in the unavoidable death of some creatures, eating a plant-based diet has been shown many times over to minimize the harm done to other animals on the Earth.
Furthermore, there is growing awareness as to the harm that is often committed by zoos against the animals they house (http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/smart-travel/travel-talk/hot-topic-time-zoos-banned/). Though many zoos were formed with genuine intentions to protect animals and educate the public about them, the truth is that most zoos are not able to adequately care for the animals that come to them from all over the globe. Animals at many zoos, including the Indianapolis Zoo, exhibit classic signs of mental stress by pacing back and forth in their enclosures. Animals from arctic regions are forced to endure Midwest or tropical summers with only a small tank of water to relieve them in the heat. Certain animals at the zoo are also forced to learn unnatural behaviors and perform for humans. True sanctuaries allow animals ample room to roam, attempt to recreate their natural environment as closely as possible, and help the animals to develop natural behaviors.
IARA has spoken out previously about the treatment of animals at the Indianapolis Zoo, including the cruel dolphin breeding program with only at 14% calf survival rate (https://inanimalrights.com/meet-nova/) at the annual Empty the Tanks protest. The organization encourages the Zoo to release the dolphins to an Oceanside sanctuary where they will have significantly more room to swim and indulge in natural behaviors.
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