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Chantal het Hart: From now on, call zoos animal prisons – Insurance for Pets

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Who wouldn’t run away if you’ve been locked up innocently all your life?

In a garden you think of flowers, plants, grass, worms, insects, a pond with frogs, hedgehogs, moles, pear trees and blue tits. You could call it a zoo. When you think of a prison, you think of people who have done something criminal. People who are locked up because they break the law again and again or because they took another person’s life. You could therefore compare a prison with the concept of what we know as ‘zoo’.

Because what are the similarities between a prison and a zoo? In a zoo we lock up animals, just like we do with prisoners. The difference, however, is that the animals we lock up in a zoo are completely innocent, unlike inmates who have been found guilty of a criminal offense. On top of that, we keep them locked up for life, that is, until the day they die. A person, on the other hand, is only imprisoned for life when he is found guilty of murder, a terrorist attack or an attack on the king or government.

cc-photo: Anrita1705

When we lock up completely innocent animals for life, can we still speak of zoos? Shouldn’t we rethink the concept of the zoo and rename it an animal prison? And shouldn’t we give animals the right to a fair trial? Because who protects the animal? Last week, two more chimpanzees (great apes) were shot in what I call an animal prison. Grandpa monkey and grandson had fled after one of the animal prison guards had not closed their cells properly. They smelled the scent of freedom and they were gone. Blame them. What would you do? Who wouldn’t run away if you’ve been locked up innocently all your life? I hated to read that grandpa monkey and grandson were shot dead within 15 minutes after their escape by shooting dangerous animal prison guards.

The reason? Grandpa monkey and grandson had been guilty of imposing behavior such as hitting the chest with fists, as Tarzan does. That behavior could be an indication that they might be biting off the face of an animal jailer. Excuse me, isn’t that part of the risk of the profession? You might wonder whether we as a society should still allow parents and children to visit animal prisons. Apparently it is dangerous! For humans and animals. The monkeys in the animal prison have been killed in an extremely immoral way. Why didn’t the animal prison guards calm the monkeys and distract them with food and try to get them back to their cells? Why was it not decided to anaesthetize the monkeys with a very high dose of ketamine? A much higher dose than usual. Why was it not decided to anaesthetize the animals with curare instead of ketamine?

Why are great apes treated differently by law than humans when 98% of the DNA corresponds to that of a human? Have the police already launched an independent investigation into the deaths of these great apes? My head is dizzy with the questions. You may wonder whether it is so educational to teach children that we lock up animals for life. And you might ask yourself whether it is really educational to expose children to animals that exhibit psychologically disturbed behavior such as zoochosis. You may not know, but some of the animals in animal prisons are given antidepressants and antipsychotics because they suffer mentally in captivity. Is this what we want to teach our kids about animals? Let’s stop to teach kids that keeping animals in prison for life is normal. Let’s stop putting animals in animal prisons. Let’s not make normal, which is not normal.

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