Can you imagine being locked in a cage for your entire life? Not knowing what it’s like to be outside those walls because you can’t actually remember a time when you weren’t locked up? Sadly, this is the reality for so many animals.
Whether they’re living in zoos, aquariums, factory farms, or any other man-made structure that houses animals for human pleasure, animals are forcibly locked up all over the world. And for what? So we can observe them, or worse, torture and kill them?
The lack of compassion we extend to animals says a lot about our society. It’s ironic that so many people see themselves as being superior to animals, when they themselves act like primal animals, capturing and torturing their prey. We identify as human beings, yet we ourselves sometimes act inhumane.
We torture animals and try to justify this poor treatment with our desire for fashionable accessories, food, and entertainment. When you look at your snakeskin handbag, you’re probably not thinking about the animal that was skinned alive and died in pain for it.
When you’re watching a horse-racing match, you’re probably not thinking about all of the innocent horses in that industry who were slaughtered because they were too old or injured. There’s such a strong disconnect between consumers and their goods that we often forget where these goods came from, how they were made, and who was affected in the process.
So, we go on with our days wearing our cow-skin belts and eating our chicken burgers as if we weren’t contributing to the mistreatment of another being. We’re indoctrinated to accept that animals are supposed to die for our benefit, and then to forget that they’re even animals in the first place. We look at meat as food and at leather as a fashion statement, practically convincing ourselves that they were never really living beings in the first place.
The following video really speaks to how far this indoctrination has gone, as it shows a group of people capturing baby elephants in the wild in Zimbabwe. These elephants are shot down with tranquilizers and then wrapped up and bound to keep them from moving as they’re dragged into tiny cages that they’re then transported inside of. It is thought that these specific elephants were captured to be sold to China.
You can see one of the elephants being kicked as it’s in the process of being transported in the truck, despite the fact that it’s not posing any threat to its captors. Sadly, this isn’t all that surprising, especially if you’ve seen videos in factory farms where those working on the farms will routinely torture the animals, for no real reason (not that there’s ever a justifiable reason to torture a living being).
Apparently, these captures aren’t all that uncommon in Zimbabwe. Although legal, they are kept under wraps (though this is understandably hard to imagine, since it would be difficult to keep such a large animal a secret). During this particular trip, the team captured 14 elephants, although they originally anticipated capturing between 30 and 40.
The buyer of these 14 elephants was a Chinese national, and he was not “new” to buying animals. Just last year this mystery buyer was associated with a devastating case involving 11 wild hyenas who were found in a truck at the airport. The hyenas had been “on the road for 24 hours without food or water and were reportedly in an extremely stressed condition, dehydrated and emaciated and, in some cases, badly injured.”
China and Zimbabwe are said to be the main players when it comes to the live elephant trade, but there isn’t extensive information on this subject, though The Guardian reported that “China continues to import the vulnerable elephants at almost conveyor-belt speed.”
The precise number of facilities in China that have received elephants directly from Zimbabwe is unknown. That being said, many of the facilities in China that hold exotic animals like zoos have been found to mistreat animals in the past, so it’s expected that many of these animals endure extreme cruelty.
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Although subjects like animal cruelty can be difficult to discuss, it’s important that we shed some light on them so we can make positive change! Many people have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in these industries, and others just don’t make the connection between the decisions they make and the impact they have on animals.
I’m not saying that if you take your kids to the zoo or if you eat meat that you’re a bad person — it’s not a competition. Just like there’s no hierarchy in the animal kingdom, there’s also no hierarchy between human beings. We all deserve compassion and love, regardless of the personal decisions we make like diet and lifestyle choices.
However, I am encouraging you to think about how your choices impact others. Understand that every purchase you make has a ripple effect; each and every time you spend money, you’re affecting someone or something, whether that be the impact on the environment, an animal, the seller, or whatever else.
In reality, if it weren’t for the high demand for these goods and services, none of this animal cruelty would be happening in the first place. Sure, you may not have killed that animal with your bare hands, but you’re still responsible for its death because you vote with your dollar.
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