The term “zoochosis” refers to the mental illness developed by many animals who are forced into captivity. Animals who suffer from zoochosis often exhibit repetitive (and sometimes self-destructive) behaviors such as excessive grooming, rocking back and forth, pacing, twisting of the neck, or self mutilation. It is believed that these anxious tics help animals cope with boredom, loneliness, and other forms of abuse as they live out the remainder of their lives in cages.
This footage – filmed by PETA – shows just how uncomfortable and even eerie watching animals in captivity can be. Instead of foraging for roots, grasses, bark, and fruits or playing with other members of his heard, these two Asian elephants are forced to stand on an asphalt terrain. With little stimulation and only each other for company, Viola and Kelly find their makeshift comfort in aimlessly rocking.
Though the two elephants are lucky to be able to interact with one another, the detrimental effects of captivity prove that just one friend is not enough. Asian elephants are extremely sociable, intelligent, and emotional creatures, and forcing them to live in a concrete enclosure where their only break or chance for stimulation involve being tortured in order to “learn” tricks or blinded under show lights.
This video shows the true side of animal captivity, and we now must ask ourselves a question: is the resulting “entertainment” from animal captivity truly worth the suffering that happens backstage?
Image source: Hatem Moushir/Wikimedia Commons