Can you imagine being trapped in a cage, confined to only four walls? Or being left alone in a dark space that was so tiny you couldn’t even turn around? This is the reality for far too many animals, and it’s all for our “pleasure.”
Whether it be land animals stuck in zoos, farm animals being slaughtered for consumption, or marine animals and fish being imprisoned in theme parks and aquariums, it’s happening all over the world.
Photojournalist Jo-Ane McArthur has tried to shed some light on what it’s like living in captivity by revealing what the modern day human/animal relationship truly looks like. McArthur recently launched her new book, Captive, as she captured the lives of animals in zoos and aquaria in over 30 different countries in a series of 148 snapshots.
“Increasingly, zoos and aquaria are being called upon to undertake both ideological and physical changes to their institutions,” McArthur said in a statement. “At the center of the current debates regarding the ethics of captivity are the animals and our moral obligations towards these ‘others.’ “
“Captive looks at the animals we so often fail to truly see, and is my contribution to the ever-growing conversation about keeping these individuals on display.”
You can take a look at some of her photos below:
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You can view more of Jo-Anne McArthur’s work here.
To me, the most evident takeaway from this is that in order to make sustainable, positive change in the world, we need to be the change. All of these corporations make money from us, we willingly give them our dollars, and in return they attempt to satisfy our needs and wants. What happens if these needs and wants shift? Well, these corporations shift as well in order to cater to us. Without demand, there is no point in supply — it’s basic economics.
If you feel that zoos are doing a disservice to animals, then don’t support them. It’s clear that many of these companies mistreat animals and marine life, and even if they don’t perceivably harm them (though in many cases they do), they’re still holding them captive.
Put yourself in the animals’ shoes: Would you want to be held captive behind bars? These animals are literally forced into a prison against their will. They are innocent beings, so why are we treating them like our prisoners, our entertainment, and our toys?
This type of superiority mindset will only hold us back from becoming the compassionate beings we’re meant to be. We all hold love within us, and I encourage you to let that love shine through and express it toward all beings, regardless of what species, class, race, etc. they fall into.
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