Despite the many justifications put forth by the animal captivity industries, ranging from conservation arguments to educational ones, the fact of the matter is that a life spent in captivity is far from beneficial to the animals involved. When placed in a captive environment, animals of all species have been known to display symptoms of physical and psychological distress not witnessed in wild animals. These symptoms, known as stereotypic behaviors, can include restless pacing, excessive grooming, head-wobbling, swaying from side to side, self-mutilation, and unpredictable outbreaks of aggression.

The animals’ natural instincts to travel, seek out their own food, find a mate, and spend their lives alongside family members are suppressed while in captivity. This can have very serious impacts on their health – for example, an estimated 40 percent of captive elephants are obese due to the lack of exercise and stimulation they receive in their enclosures. A 2014 study published in the PLOSone science journal found that certain skull bones do not appear to form correctly in a high proportion of captive lions, leaving those lions vulnerable to brain damage and fatal illnesses. Dolphins’ natural communication methods are disrupted. A heartbreaking video recently emerged showing a captive orca in Loro Parque, Spain, desperately struggling to escape his tiny tank.


When a famous face speaks up on behalf of these animals, their message is amplified by the renown in which they are held by their fans and the general public. This has often been the case with comedian Ricky Gervais, who  has previously spoken out against a wide range of animal protection issues, including trophy hunting, cosmetics testing, and dog meat consumption. He has also admitted to being very moved by videos of animals in distress, saying, “‘Laboratory animals see sunlight for the first time,’ or ‘elephant mourns his best friend the goat.’ I watch something like that every day and I’m always in pieces.”

The heartbreaking picture below, which Gervais recently posted on his Facebook page, is bound to leave any animal lover in pieces too.



He shared the image of this suffering captive bear along with the caption: “Bullfighting. Enslaving dolphins. Skinning dogs alive. Bile farming. We certainly are the cruelest animal on Earth.” With these heart-wrenching words, he accurately expressed the feelings of many animal lovers who are appalled by the cruelty that we so often inflict on the other species who share this planet with us.


To learn more about why captivity is anything but fun for the animals involved, and why you should never buy a ticket to a zoo, marine park or other facility that holds captive animals, read the posts below.

Image Source: Ricky Gervais/Facebook