Constant Catastrophe

Last week, as Ukraine’s Nova Kakhovka region was flooded due to the explosion of the Kakhovska hydroelectric power plant, the Kazkova Dibrova Zoo was completely submerged under water along with about 300 animals. Owner of the zoo, Olena Navrotska, in a statement, said that all animals in the zoo died as a result of the catastrophe. In a separate statement, the animal rights organization UAnimals said that “only swans and ducks could escape” from the zoo that housed species of monkeys, raccoons, donkeys, ponies, nutrias, various birds, porcupines, marmots, turtles and many other animals, who apparently did not survive.

This horrific event shouldn’t only be a reminder of what may happen in cases of catastrophes when so many animals are confined in cages, but that so many animals imprisoned in cages is in any case already a catastrophe.

Lunatic Asylum

Humans’ gruesome tradition of imprisoning nonhumans in cages for display goes back 5,500 years, with kings across the world demonstrating their power and wealth.

Despite the modern justification of a concern for animals, the purpose of zoos was never changed. Zoos are still collections of “interesting items”, demonstrating humans’ power and domination. Animals in zoos are treated like a stamp collection. The more species the better, especially if they are large animals from foreign places that the public would be willing to pay money to watch. The “specimens” are arranged in cages to make it easy to observe them from close range, at all times, despite how extremely stressful it is for the animals.

Zoos talk a lot about their essential scientific research, their total commitment to wildlife conservation, and their vital role as educators. Meanwhile, people do what they have always done – they go to the zoo to be entertained.
The expectation of the visitors is that the animal would please them. Humans demand to be taken notice of and they are insulted to find that usually the animals ignore them. They expect the animals to entertain each and every one of them. The mentality is of: “come here and say hello! Do something cute”. The ugliest examples of humans demand for attention include teasing, banging on cages and throwing things at them.
Zoos foster the assumption that humans are the center of the universe.

Animals in zoos are deprived of their normal and natural behavior.
Tigers can’t run, birds can’t soar the sky, monkeys can’t swing from the trees, and elephants can’t roam over large areas.
Animals which would naturally roam tens of miles a day, tread the same few paces in a small cage.

Zoos confinements deprive the “prisoners” of their most basic behaviors including exercise, social interaction and bathing.
Animals that naturally live in large herds or family groups are often kept alone, or at most, in pairs. Foraging and mating behaviors are virtually eliminated by regulated feeding and breeding regimens. The animals are closely confined so they lack privacy. Solitary and shy animals live in cages with viewing from all sides.

Complex behaviors and deep instincts that have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years can’t find any outlet. The result is boredom and stress. The animals show signs of mental disturbance through abnormal behaviors. Sometimes they become apathetic and just sit in one place, but the most common abnormal behavior is repeated movement: rocking from side to side, pacing up and down or round and round, waving or circling the head, over and over again.
Animals in zoos tend to over groom themselves, grooming to an excessive extent, pulling out hair or feathers, often leaving bald patches, irritated and torn skin.
Self-inflicted physical harm, such as biting or chewing tail or leg, or hitting the head against a wall are all also very common.
Such obsessive and repetitive behaviors, including self-mutilation, are very common among zoo animals and are a result of no mental stimulation or physical exercise and a chronic frustration and boredom. This stereotypic, self-destructive behavior is called Zoochosis.

Some humans believe that caging animals in a zoo, is somehow for their own good.
They argue that zoos protect the animals from harms.
They see themselves as animal lovers and the zoo as a place that enables people to get to know and love animals.
But the confinement in the zoo harms animals more than anything they might face during their lives. Zoos cannot protect animals. In fact animals need protection from zoos.

Zoos also claim to be educational. But what do they teach us?
Animals, which have become crazy and show unnatural stereotypic behavior are only ‘educational’ in showing how humans can drive animals mad by keeping them imprisoned.
The confinement educates people for relationships based on domination and control.
It teaches hierarchy and speciesism. It teaches how to objectify sentient beings.
Not that humans need these lessons…Humans are natural born exploiters.

The events in Kazkova Dibrova Zoo shouldn’t be a reminder of what may happen in cases of catastrophes when so many animals are trapped in cages, and not even as a reminder of how zoos are in any case a catastrophe of its own, but as a reminder of the mega catastrophe which is human domination over other nonhuman animals. The catastrophe of human domination is demonstrated not just in cases of specific disasters, and not just in the fact that imprisoning  nonhuman animals for their whole lives so humans could be entertained watching them in their cages still exists and is still very popular in 2023, but everywhere around the world and all the time.
Everything in humans’ life has catastrophic impact on others. Humans’ clothes (and not only leather, fur, wool, silk and down), humans’ houses, humans’ cities, humans’ transportation, humans’ entertainment, humans’ energy production, humans’ waste, and of course and most importantly humans’ food. All humans’ food.
That’s why we must dethrone humans from everywhere and forever.

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