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Instead of the zoo, take your children to an animal sanctuary

September 25, 2019 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

Even under the best of circumstances at the best of zoos, captivity cannot begin to replicate wild animals’ habitats.

Animals are often prevented from doing most of the things that are natural and important to them, like running, roaming, flying, climbing, foraging, choosing a partner, and being with others of their own kind.

Zoos teach children that it is acceptable to interfere with animals and keep them locked up in captivity, where they are bored, cramped, lonely, deprived of all control over their lives, and far from their natural homes. 

Instead of taking them to a place that makes money from keeping animals incarcerated, take them instead to an animal sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. Genuine sanctuaries never breed animals or use them in commercial activities.

 Instead of a circus that uses and abuses animals, take your children to an animal-free circus

Elephants, tigers, and other animals that circuses use to entertain audiences do not stand on their heads, jump through hoops, or balance on pedestals because they want to. They perform these and other difficult tricks because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t – and this isn’t something children should perceive as normal. 

To force animals to perform, circus trainers often abuse them with whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks (heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on one end), and other painful tools of the circus trade. 

Thankfully, animal-free circuses such as New South Wales’ Flying Fruit Fly, Zirka CircusCircus Oz and Cirque du Soleil provide cruelty-free spectacles for us to behold. 

Instead of the aquarium or marine parks, take your children snorkeling or boating

Some of the world’s most sensitive and intelligent animals are kidnapped and forced to live in tiny enclosures that are dismal imitations of their natural ocean home – and it’s all done by the multimillion-dollar aquarium industry. 

From giant sharks to tiny fish, the animals who are exploited by aquariums in Australia all suffer. Instead of navigating the vast oceans, they’re confined to glass tanks – where they’re exposed to flashing lights, loud noises, and crowds – and denied the opportunity to engage in their natural behaviour. 

Snorkeling and boating are excellent ways for your children to experience a huge variety of tropical or freshwater fish, sea turtles, eels, rays, and other animals in their natural homes, on their own terms. 

Instead of fishing, take your children “fishing” for rubbish 

Fishing is not a wholesome parent/child activity. When fish are yanked from the water, they begin to suffocate. Their gills often collapse, and their swim bladders can rupture because of the sudden change in pressure. Numerous scientific reports from around the world confirm that fish feel pain.

Fish who are released after being caught can suffer from loss of their protective scale coating that makes them vulnerable to disease, a dangerous build-up of lactic acid in their muscles, oxygen depletion, and damage to their delicate fins and mouths – an estimated 60% of fish thrown back into the water after being caught will die shortly after 

Why not do your bit and help your children do theirs by taking them to a local beach to “fish” for rubbish instead. Everyday items such as soda cans and plastic bottles can be deadly for unsuspecting wildlife and even dogs and cats. A day at one of the country’s countless beautiful beaches can be very fun and fulfilling for children- with even the chance to spot marine life in their natural environment. 

Instead of horse riding, take your children to botanical gardens and parks

In a perfect world, horses would be free to pursue their own lives and humans wouldn’t make demands of them. They’re herd animals who in nature, associate with other members of their large groups, graze in meadows, travel great distances, play, and engage in courtship behaviour. They have needs, wants, and interests that are entirely independent from what humans ask and expect from them. 

Horses deserve to live their lives as nature intended. We can connect with horses in our care and have a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship with these sensitive animals without climbing on top of them. 

Instead, you can have a picnic lunch with your children and spend an hour or two at a park or green space, where you can observe wildlife such as birds, squirrels, and many other animals. Or you can immerse your senses in a botanical garden or conservatory, where you can see, smell, and touch plants from around the world.

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