The conditions that animals held in zoos are forced to endure, in many cases, for their entire lives, is often highly concerning for animal lovers. We’ve seen many examples of animals in substandard enclosures and witnessed cases of blatant abuse from caretakers, but here we are again with another shocking reminder that zoos aren’t the happy and colorful places they are painted out to be.
A video filmed at Heavenly Well Lake Park Zoo in Anhui, China, shows a picture full of squalor and despair – which becomes even more moving once we realize that it is what every day looks like for the animals living there.
The video was created by the We Animals’ multi-media coordinator Kelly Guerin who had stumbled across the zoo in 2016 while traveling.
“We heard the sound of a child yelling and banging a stick along a row of metal bars,” Guerin recounts, as cited by the Captive: the Book Facebook page. “The noise led us down a small path into a corner of the park guarded by a sleeping ticket man. Behind him, a little boy was shouting at a moon bear in his 10-foot square concrete enclosure, jabbing him through the metal bars with a thick tree branch. This tiny, terrifying place contained rows and rows of captive animals who cowered, paced, or simply lay there as people threw garbage at them.”
The sad state of the zoo unfolds throughout the video – including such shocking images as a tiger enclosure with a live dog walking around in it.
Although a year has passed, the memory is still heavy and inescapable. “I have long since gone home, but the animals I documented are still there, trapped in concrete pits,” Guerin says.
Zoos like the one documented in the footage are a blatant and terrible reminder of what our lack of respect for animals leads to – it also leaves no question whatsoever as to whether those kinds of establishments are concerned with the welfare of animals. What should be conservation turns more than clearly into exploitation – and has to be fought against.
You can help by sharing this video and boycotting any establishment that holds animals captive. When we stop paying for this abuse, it will stop!