Animals do not belong endlessly imprisoned, yet this is life for hundreds of thousands of creatures around the world, stuck in zoos from birth to death.
What humans are born enslaved to live out their days enslaved. Why do we think we are so much greater than other animals that we imprison them? Perhaps the question is rhetorical. We are not greater, perhaps smarter, able to build cages, but not generically better.
This video is gut wrenching
Sadly, the more intelligent the animal, the more pain they seem to suffer while caged. Primates suffer the worst. Chimpanzees are our closest genetic relative and understand family and loss. They mourn their dead and speak with sign language.
This new realization of the intelligence of non-human animals has inspired countries around the world to close their zoos. Costa Rica has spearheaded a global effort to free the animals back to their natural environment.
The other side of the argument is that we learn so much from being able to study animals close up. This is true, though with modern technology we can watch documentaries and even fly cameras over them as they run through the jungle. Seeing a depressed ape is not the best way to teach your children.
When we acknowledge the intelligence these other animals retain, we will be another step towards coexisting, not only with them, but with the earth.