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Are zoos beneficial to humans or animals? Discuss. (1 Viewer)

thedreamweaver

Senior Member
This rather banal title was recently set as an essay for my GCSE class.

Any comments on this, my attempt:


What is a ‘zoo’? In its conventional use, the definition is usually something alone the lines of a tourist attraction where visitors can observe different types of animal. What is a zoo, then, but a series of cages and their disillusioned occupants being gawped at by intrusively curious strangers? Therefore, the word ‘zoo’ in its broadest terms can be used to describe not only animals behind bars but, perhaps, to humans as well.

Probably because it is most commonly used to describe a place where you might take your kids with a picnic in the summer, the word ‘zoo’ is not one you would use to portray a human (except, perhaps, to illustrate particularly cruel conditions under which someone was suffering). But when you start to apply it to humans who are under observation, you realise it is surprisingly accurate.

Take the example of someone who spent years in a cage, yet still managed to be one of the most influential people in the world. Nelson Mandela is one of the most famous people living – yet spent decades imprisoned. His enclosure served to bring him notoriety, and provided a platform for him to perform to the world. This is a prime instance of a human zoo exhibit: a man who, despite being behind bars, was the centre of attention, with the eyes of the world eagerly upon him. Hence, it could be argued that this kind of ‘zoo’ is beneficial to the spectators and the specimen, in that it provides a potent mix of entertainment for the audience – while the imprisoned gains more power than those outside the coop.

At this point, it is definitely pertinent to mention that, as the term ‘zoo’ can be used to apply to humans, so the word ‘cage’ can be meant physically – or metaphorically. Few people in this world spend their lives in actual prisons (and most of those who do have committed some kind of offence which merited confinement).

But it is my opinion that most, if not all, of the people on this earth exist in their own private trap – self-fashioned, self-endured and, ultimately, self-destructive. Perhaps, although it is hard to accept, we all inhabit our own cages – traps that exist in the most dangerous place possible: our own minds; traps that we have c constructed painstakingly through the corrosive experience that is life. No one else can build an enclosure in your mind – only you can do that; a cage formed from the roots of your insecurities and cemented by the lack of your own conviction. Everyone has one, and what no one can see is that the harder we try to escape the prison we have made, the harder we kick and scratch in desperation, the tougher and more unyielding its walls become.

Whether any of us can ever break through our mental barriers is debatable, for you can never change your own personality. Who you are withstands all, and so too do your own fears and doubts.

I do not believe that the ‘zoo’ that is the world that we live in is of benefit to its inhabitants and their viewers. Is it healthy to spend a lifetime relishing, with painful irony, another’s struggle – while you are simultaneously suffocating in your own cell?

As a whole, this topic is a rather futile one. The fact remains that the world is a ‘zoo’; the people who live in it a never-ending stream of shows. We are all gloating spectators, yet equally we are all drowning victims. We spy on people; they observe us. In the end, can we ever ascertain who is watching who?

As you observe somebody (or even the lion in its pen next time you’re at the zoo) in their prison, remember, you don’t know who’s watching you with the dispassionate interest that we afford to exhibits.

And when you next have a moment to spare, shut your eyes to the parade of pathetic specimens filing past, and take a minute to assess the recesses of your own mentality: what’s your private trap?
 

mammamaia

Senior Member
is this the same piece with this title i saw some time back?... that generated a rather heated and lengthy debate... you might want to look at back pages and find it, if this isn't the same one... if it is, why post it again?

love and hugs, maia [a strong opponent of taking animals or humans from their natural homes]
 

thedreamweaver

Senior Member
I've just looked back a lot of pages and can't see anything remotely like the title of my essay... could someone post a link, if this article actually does exist? Even though it's not mine, it'd be interesting to see someone else's opinions.
 
T

Truth-Teller

Humans.

The penguins and polar bears will dissappear soon, and so will the fishes. The only place we'll see them are at zoos.
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
You raise some good points. In fact, I think prison might be good for political figures. They are kept from the public eyes... they can't see faults in the person's character... they sort of become a God.

Like Charles Manson... he's infamous, but no one really realizes that he's a harmless crazy guy that could be dropped like a sack of potatoes.
 

thedreamweaver

Senior Member
Surely, though, if political figures become martyrs (and then 'gods', as you aptly put it), that is a bad thing rather than a good one? That's the reason the USA tries not to execute terrorists - so they can't become saints for a cause. Seeing the flaws in your leader is, I think, necessary: otherwise you can be endanger of deifying a mortal.
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
Yes, I would rather have a stupid and unpopular leader in place than a stupid and popular one.
 

Shawn

WF Veterans
Nonsense, I fell into that trap before. People expect great things of you when you have nothing great to offer.
 
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