As an animal rights advocate, I’m someone who definitely believes that animals are not ours to eat, wear, test on, or exploit in any way. While more and more people are coming around to buying things that are cruelty-free, not wearing fur or leather, and even becoming vegetarians/vegans, so many people are still unaware of the animal exploitation that happens in so many areas and forms of animal ‘entertainment’. Today I thought I’d share some alternatives to a few of the more common forms of animal exploitation. There are so many cruelty-free alternatives to animal ‘entertainment’ that are just as fun and entertaining.
If you like to go to the circus, consider visiting a circus that doesn’t involve animals. Trust me, they’re a lot more fun than watching actual animals perform acts and tricks that they’re not meant (and don’t want) to do. I remember going to the circus when I was little. My friends would invite me along, and I just remember seeing the animals and how sick they looked. The ponies were so thin and weak and the elephants and tigers looked exhausted. Even at such a young age, I knew that what these animals were being made to do wasn’t right — even without knowing the details. Honestly, circuses without animals can be just as fun (probably more) as any circus that has animals. It’s still fun to see people performing and doing acrobatic stuff. It’s so much better being entertained in a cruelty-free way.
If you like zoos and interacting with animals, think about visiting an animal sanctuary. I don’t support zoos at all. I don’t believe in the idea of paying someone to allow me to look at animals like they’re nothings. I also completely disagree with the argument that zoos are ‘educational’. Seriously, what’s educational about seeing animals not in their natural habitats? There are so many other ways that we can educate ourselves about all kinds of different animals. We don’t have to gawk at them in cages or other venues that are not their natural habitats. There are so many animal sanctuaries — particularly farm sanctuaries — that are open to the public. There are also numerous wildlife rescues and rehabilitation centres. These are great places to visit if you want to be up close and interactive with a variety of animals. Depending on where you live, you may not see lions, tigers, elephants, or giraffes, but you’ll still see some cute animals who generally have a bit more freedom and happiness than those kept in zoos.
Instead of visiting an aquarium, think about going to your local river or creek to see if you can spot some fish. You can also go boating/kayaking or even try snorkelling. Also, think about watching a really cool documentary about wild marine life. And if you’re looking to take a trip, consider going somewhere you can go whale watching. I’ve never been, but I would absolutely love to go whale watching! I would love to see whales in their natural habitats and hopefully get to hear them.
If you like water parks or amusement parks, try to visit ones that don’t include animals or marine life. I know we’ve all been programmed to see dolphins and whales doing tricks as something interesting and impressive, but if you really think about it, it’s not at all. These animals were stolen from ocean waters, bred, and are continually kept in captivity. They’re forced to live in chlorinated water and are beaten and forced to perform tricks that they don’t want to do. There are lots of parks that don’t use any animals.
Other interactive and animal-friendly activities include visiting museums, going hiking (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone hiking on a local nature trail and seen all kinds of different animals), visiting a bird sanctuary or observatory, and so much more. We don’t have to support anything that uses, abuses, and exploits animals just for our entertainment.
So many people are completely unaware of the cruelty animals face when they’re forced to do activities that don’t come natural to them. Even if animals in zoos, circuses, aquariums, sporting events, water parks, and more look healthy and taken care of, they’re still being held captive and forced to do things that they don’t want to do. We all have to remember that when we go to these places, we only see what they want us to see. We don’t see the abuse, neglect, sadness, pain, and more that the animals experience every day of their lives. It’s not worth visiting places that use animals as entertainment. What’s so entertaining about animal abuse? I, personally, would much rather visit places where animals are either in their natural habitats or as close to it as possible for their survival.
You can’t be an animal lover and support venues and organizations that exploit animals. I’ll never understand how people can continue to exploit animals and feel okay about it. Animal exploitation is not right and I hope that, one day, the human race will wake up and realize this. In the meantime, more and more people need to continue speaking out against animal exploitation. Sign petitions, contact your government officials, educate friends and family, and definitely don’t support zoos, circuses, aquariums, sporting events that involve animals, and water/amusement parks with animals. Hopefully we can continue putting an end to animal exploitation.
Side note: There are a lot more forms of animal exploitation that happen every day. I listed common forms of animal exploitation in my post today, because most people have experienced and participated in these forms at some point in their lives. I’ll write another post on other forms of animal exploitation sometime soon.