For Marius: an honest conversation about domination

Perhaps some of you are being accused of being ignorant in our objection to the execution-of-convenience of Marius by the Copenhagen Zoo.  Some accusations hurl the moniker “hypocrite” for objecting only to Marius when “this kind of things goes on all the time in zoos.” Others say the ignorance is of the very essence of animal husbandry in collections.

Of course it isn’t only about Marius; but just as clearly, if we don’t object to the execution of one, we lose the right to object to the execution of many, because then we have become like them. We will have lost sight of the individual and become a mere zookeeper ourselves, who judges when and how many it is acceptable to kill, or in perhaps the one accurate use of the word, to cull.

I will never defend zoos or aquariums, except to save a species; and only then if we are also waging the war to save their habitat, to push the humans off their land and out of their water, to have the humans stop cutting their trees, to criminalize the act of stealing another’s habitat.

To Marius and all the others, I apologize for our unhealthy ability to cloak our racist and ethnist expressions of domination in the control of you.

I highly recommend that you read the very interesting article by David Samuels in Harpers referenced in my blog post, Animal rights, animal captivity, slavery and racism, to end the real ignorance about zoos and aquariums: they are rooted in values that, if exposed to the light of day, no healthy person would want.

Marius at the Copenhagen Zoo. Photo credit Scanpix Reuters Denmark

Marius at the Copenhagen Zoo. Photo credit Scanpix Reuters Denmark

For Marius. It’s time to have an honest conversation about zoos and aquariums, about their roots in an unhealthy need for domination, an acceptance of distinguishing other beings as inferior, a willingness to exploit other beings, and begin a robust and aggressive conversation about actually preserving and restoring habitat for the wild ones so that we return to them what is rightfully theirs, not ours.

For Marius. For Jiyu. For the Longleat lions. For Anne. For the Southern Residents. For the dolphins who are dying in the Indian River and along the eastern U.S. seaboard. For all the creatures who died, and those who are trying to survive, in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater/Corexit debacle.

For Marius. For Jiyu. Let’s have a conversation about replacing our current conversation based in domination with one based in respect and love.

Because as long as we just export to the rest of the animal kingdom – or even to the vegetable and mineral ones – our ability to distinguish-and-dominate, nothing is safe. No gay person, no person of color, no religious belief, no belief of any kind: NOTHING is safe.

For Marius. For Jiyu.  An end to zoos and aquariums as we know them.

What you can do:

Honoring another creature recognizes the divinity in all

Recognizing the divinity in all

9 responses to “For Marius: an honest conversation about domination

  1. Anyone who hurts an animal or a child is not a human being, and does not deserve the rights of one!!!

  2. Wise words..thank you.

  3. I saw a similarly disturbing thing on television about a month ago. I was flipping through the channels and happened to see two men tracking a giraffe in South Africa. I hoped that it was a photographic safari. But no—it wasn’t that kind of channel. These men were armed with guns and bows and arrows.

    The giraffe knew the men were trouble and tried to intimidate them and scare them off.

    As one man drew back his arrow I could not believe what I was seeing. He shot the giraffe in the “chest” area, aiming for the lungs. The giraffe staggered about, then came crashing down. It bled to death. If you shoot a giraffe in the lungs it will quickly bleed to death, I learned.

    The hunter stood over the animal that he had destroyed and said proudly, “I’ve never been this close to one before.”

    Who in the world gets up and says to himself, “I think I’ll go shoot a giraffe in the lungs today.” ???

    And who puts the killing on television for our viewing pleasure?

    I would almost like to think that someday that hunter will, himself, meet up with the sharp end of a stick. Only, not in the lungs, but in another part of his anatomy.

    • In 2014, we shouldn’t accept killing. While we were barbarians at one time, who cut off people’s heads and cut out their entrails while still alive and burned them with crowds cheering on the act of killing . . . it is time to recognize that that wasn’t just some movie script. It’s who we were. And should be no more.

  4. Great piece, we are of one mind as to the reasons why captive animals should be tolerated.

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