This video is for kids and adults alike. If you’re like me, you LOVE animals! Going to the zoo can be really exciting. Today we’re going to talk about why even though it may be fun for you and me, the zoo isn’t a happy place for the animals.
Hi there! If you’re a kid and you love meeting really cool animals in real life—and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?—then this video is for you! [tweet this]
I’m so excited to be making another video just for you. So far in my videos for kids we’ve talked about why we don’t drink milk, or eat meat or eggs, or honey, or wear wool, how you can be a superhero for the planet, the people and the animals by being vegan, and even heard from real vegan kids! You can watch all of those videos later if you want linked right here and below!
I’m so excited to finally be making another video just for you. We’ve covered a LOT so far in my videos for kids, like why why we don’t drink milk, or eat meat or eggs, or honey, or wear wool, how you can be a superhero by being vegan, how fish have feelings, and we’ve even heard from real vegan kids! Whew! That’s getting long. You can watch all of those videos later if you want linked here and below.
Now just like in my other videos I promise that I’m not going to show you anything scary, that I’ll tell you the truth no matter what and that I won’t talk down to you, cause you’re probably smarter than us adults!
Today we’re going to talk about the zoo! If you’re like me, you love animals. And the idea of getting to meet amazing animals like lions, giraffes, elephants and monkeys face-to-face is pretty exciting!
What’s even better is that adults think it’s a great idea too. A lot of kids go to the zoo with their family or friends, or in school on a class field trip.
So why would anyone not want to go to the zoo? Well, there are a number of reasons why vegans don’t go to the zoo. If you don’t know already, being vegan means you don’t eat animals or anything that comes out of them like milk, eggs, cheese or honey or wear anything from their bodies, like wool or leather or silk.
Now this may be a little confusing at first. I mean if vegans love animals so much, why wouldn’t we want to go see them? Well, being vegan isn’t just about not eating or wearing animals—it’s also about not using them for our entertainment.
So it’s actually because of how much we love animals that we don’t go to the zoo. Let’s go over some of the reasons together!
While there are some pretty horrible zoos out there where all of the animals are in really tiny cages, you may have seen zoos where the animals seem to have a lot of space to move around. But what may seem like a whole lot of room to you and me can still be really small for them!
In nature, some animals, like elephants, will walk for miles every day. And birds will migrate thousands of miles every year, with one bird called the arctic tern, flying up to 90,000 kilometers, or nearly 56,000 miles. That’s more than going around the world two times!
When you look at it that way, even the biggest cages at the nicest zoos look really, really small. Just imagine being stuck in the same room day after day after day. I’m sure that even if you had the coolest toys, sooner or later, you’d start feeling a little crazy! And that’s just how the animals feel. Only it’s not a day or two—it’s every single day for their entire lives.
If you’ve ever been to a zoo, you may have seen tigers, or panthers walking back and forth, or elephants swaying side to side, monkeys climbing up and down again and again, or other animals doing the same motions over and over and over. This is something called “zoochosis” which basically means these animals are going crazy from being locked up.
We’ve talked in other videos about how animals have feelings just like you and me, even if they express them in ways we may not understand. Well, they can also get depressed, anxious, and even become psychotic when they are in really stressful situations, just like you or I would.
Some animals in zoos were trapped in the wild, taken away from their family and home. Imagine how scary that would be!
Now you may be wondering, if zoos are so bad for the animals, why do so many people support them? Well, lots of people think zoos are a fun place where kids can go to learn about animals and nature. I have an entire video about zoos and education that you can watch later here, but from what we’ve already talked about, you can see why this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
I mean going to the zoo to learn about animals and nature is like riding in bumper cars to learn how to drive! Either way, you’re not going to really get the right impression! [tweet this]
People also say that zoos are important because of their conservation programs. You see, a lot of different kinds of animals are in danger of going extinct—and some already have. Humans have destroyed their homes, polluted their habitats, and hunted them until there are only a few left.
Now I’m sure you know that if you hurt someone, or if you’ve done something wrong, it’s important to take responsibility and try your best to make it better. Well that’s what conservation programs are about—they help these animals repopulate, meaning grow in numbers, so that they don’t disappear forever.
This is of course a very important thing for us to do, but zoos are just not the place to do it! These animals need to be as close to nature as possible, so that when the time comes, they can return to the wild. Just like you and I won’t learn much about how animals act in nature at a zoo, neither will the animals born there! We can help endangered animals without sticking them in a cage for people to look at.
The sad truth is that zoos are businesses. I know I’ve said this before in a lot of my videos for you, but so many times, the strange and even really awful things adults do is because of money.
And I’ll be honest, it can be hard not going to the zoo if it’s one of your favorite things! But I know you’re old enough and smart enough to know that just because you want something, doesn’t mean it’s okay to hurt someone else to get it. This is something we adults are usually pretty good at teaching, but not at all something we’re good at doing!
Sometimes the best way to love animals is to leave them alone to be animals! You can still learn all about them in their natural habitat, and much better than you could in a zoo! There are so many books, TV shows, and movies that bring you all over the world to see all kinds of amazing animals! You can even still meet some of them in real life at places like farm animal sanctuaries. Check out the links below to find places to meet animals and how to learn more about them!
You can be a friend to the animals all over the world when you say “NO” to zoos! And just like we talked about in my video about being a superhero, when you don’t eat animals either, you’re also helping the environment, so they can stay in their homes where they belong.
Not in cages or enclosures. But with their family. Just like it should be. Now that’s pretty amazing! [tweet this]
I hope this video was helpful. Let me know what you thought in the comments and if you have other things you’d like me to cover, feel free to tell me!
If you liked this video, do give it a thumbs up and share it around to help other kids learn the truth! [you can use the share buttons below and the tweetable links in the post!]
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Now go live vegan, say “NO WAY” to Zoo Day, and I’ll see you soon!
— Emily Moran Barwick
Sally Anne Hubbard says
So glad to see this video to educate children and adults about zoos.
When I was a child I went to a zoo in NYC and saw a gorilla in a cage sitting in a corner and looking so sad. I never forgot that image and the look on the poor gorilla’s face.
I have never been back to that zoo or any zoo.
This is an issue which I don’t think is as black and white as that. I completely understand why many vegans don’t go to zoos, but some vegans do. Some vegans even work in zoos.
Zoos can be enormously important in conservation. Howletts for instance is world-renowned for their endangered breeding programmes, and have successfully reintroduced gorillas, European bison, black rhino, Javan langurs, Javan gibbons, and clouded leopards back to their natural habitats. That wouldn’t have been possible without the funds from visitors, and the keepers work hard on enrichment and other activities to help prepare animals for their release.
Many zoos are non-profits, which direct visitor fees straight back into in- and ex-situ conservation. London Zoo for example made over £55 million last year, much of which was spent on conservation and research. Their conservation programmes are vital to the survival of many endangered species, and wouldn’t have been possible without visitors.
Some people also argue that zoos are an important source of inspiration and education for urbanised Western populations, that without them people would care less about animals. Now you may may feel that this is not worth keeping animals in captivity (and I’d be tempted to agree) but I do work with conservationists who were only moved to join this field after making a connection with an animal they saw in a zoo.
If you take a hardline approach to animal exploitation then yes, you many never wish to visit a zoo and I respect your decision. However, many zoos do vital conservation work and to some vegans this justifies the captivity of some animals to ensure their continued survival. Personally, whether I support a zoo depends on a mixture of factors including their welfare and conservation track record. For example, I am particularly unhappy about zoos which keep non-endangered animals in captivity.
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