Why shouldn't tigers be kept in captivity?

There is no God-given rule, no absolute diktat from up above as to why tigers should be kept in captivity. They shouldn't. In a better world, with half the current human population, there would be enough space for tigers to live in their own reserves without coming into conflict with people. In other words people would be living in harmony with tigers rather than persecuting them, exploiting them, abusing them and banging them up in prison cells with concrete floors and nasty bars.

Why shouldn't tigers be kept in captivity?
 Why shouldn't tigers be kept in captivity? Because it is a f**k**g failure. Pic: Pixabay.

Tigers like to enjoy space. In the natural world they may roam over hundreds of square miles in their home range. You imprison them in a zoo and no matter how wonderful you make that zoo they are still confined to a space much smaller than they would be enjoying in the wild. And let's remind ourselves that very many zoos are terrible dumps. They are disgusting places in Third World countries where tigers are simply abused horrendously. There are underfed, badly nourished, confined to a 30 x 30' space with no environmental enrichment. They are disaster places.

The zookeepers haven't got a clue what they're doing. Worse: they have got a clue what they're doing but they hate tigers or that's the impression they give to the world because of the ghastly construction they created in which to house tigers.

Why shouldn't tigers be kept in captivity? Because they are horrible places and they are cruel places. It is in the DNA of the tiger to roam, to enjoy the air, the grass under their feet, to hunt prey, to kill animals and to be free. There is no absolute rule which says that tigers cannot be free and humans can be free.

Humans have rights. One of those rights is to enjoy freedoms including not to be imprisoned without due process and for good cause. People are only imprisoned when they are being punished for a crime. Well, that should be the case but because human nature is so bad in undeveloped countries people are in prison for no good reason but the general consensus across the world is that imprisonment should only be doled out to people who deserve it.

And yet, we imprison animals willy-nilly because we want to do it. The only reason why we do is because we like it like that. They entertain us in zoos. It's just a convenience. It's a commercial enterprise. It isn't about justice or morality. It's about money. And when the zoo owners say that they are engaged in conservation, take that with a pinch of salt. Sometimes zoos do genuine conservation work but in my mind it is negated by the whole concept of zoos. Their presence is a demonstration of failure in conservation.

If tiger conservation was successful they would all be in the wild enjoying nature. There wouldn't be any zoos. It's a failure and therefore when zoos to engage in conservation efforts it is a rearguard action, a last-ditch effort to try and mitigate the failure of humankind to do a proper job of tiger conservation.

One problem is that we've got so used to the presence of zoos that we think it's normal. I guess we do think is normal because that's the kind of attitude people have. People look down on animals. They are there to entertain us. They are a freakshow. We are engaged in voyeurism. We've normalised captive animals but in a better world, in a world where people were more sensitive to the feelings of animals, there won't be any blasted zoos. They are bloody horrendous places even the prettiest ones in the most luxurious locations.

The animals are still banged up in a prison cell and it does not matter how you slice or dice that. The optics are not good to use modern parlance. The only time you can argue that captive tigers are a good thing is when they are in a sanctuary having been rescued from some nasty private zoo where the owner failed miserably to look after them.

Such a place is Big Cat Rescue founded and owned by Carole Baskin. She knows more than anybody else how badly treated tigers and other wild cats are at private zoos. And in America there are many, many private zoos. They are largely unregulated. There are about 5000 tigers in private zoos and commercial zoos in America as I understand it. This is far more than the number of wild tigers.

And these captive tigers are often generic tigers. They've lost their purebred blood. They are neither Bengal tigers nor Siberian tigers. They are some hybrid mishmash generic version. This is a destruction of the species of tiger. In addition to the destruction already of many of the tiger species to persecution. Through the destruction of their habitat. The commercialisation of their habitat. The exploitation of their body parts. They are poached for their body parts to be eaten by people who actually believe that it benefits them to eat bits tiger.

It's all part of the same mentality. Exploit the tiger in any way because people admire this animal, this magnificent creature but it is endangered. Why are people treating the tiger so badly when they admire it so much? It's a dichotomy. It's a muddled approach. It is a disastrous attitude. Humans both want to destroy the tiger while simultaneously admiring it. It is admiration and fear at the same time. It's sick.

Why shouldn't tigers be in captivity? Because they should be in the wild enjoying themselves and people should stop exploiting them because tigers in captivity is a form of exploitation.


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