Should we be living in zoos?

My daughter and I went to the zoo today and all of the animals are so beautifully housed and fed and every effort is made to recreate their natural habits and to keep them healthy and happy.  Not too fat, not too thin, but eating like they would in their natural habitats and maintaining an ideal weight.  Animals can exercise, get fresh air, sunshine and they aren’t allowed to get overweight or to be housed inappropriately or there would be an outcry from the public.

But when my gaze turned from the animal’s habitats to the walkways and paths for the visitors, I have never seen so many overweight, obese and morbidly obese people in my life.  If 66% of adults in the US are overweight or obese, this morning skewed that percentage some, because it was more like 80% or more who were quite to significantly heavier than their ideal weight.  I saw firsthand why we are the most overweight and obese society in the world.

So what is my point?  Zoo animals are being held in captivity against their “will” probably the only plus being that they actually live longer in most cases in captivity.  No enemies, no disease, good diets, probably supplements, good veterinary care and so forth contribute to their longevity.

We, on the other hand, have lifespans that are shortening and we are not held in captivity.  We make choices as to where we live and how much exercise we get and what type and when.  We eat what we please and when we please and how much we please.  We seek medical care by choice or when we can afford it.

We, too, should be healthy and at our ideal weights, but instead we are not.  I saw people out of breath and struggling to go up paths or to take stairs to exhibits in order to see animals in about as perfect condition as they would be outside of their natural habitats.

We have the largest elephant habitat of any zoo in the country and the elephant keepers place their food in amongst logs so that they have to search for it and inside huge balls that they have to push around to make the food come out.  The “visitors” on the other hand congregated where the fast food, ice cream and other sweets were being sold and sat down to eat.

My daughter and I saw animal mothers and fathers playing and nurturing their young.  The human parents seemed to be just sitting and talking to each other and the children tried to play, but since they, too, were quite overweight and one nine or ten year old girl was morbidly obese and couldn’t play at all.  We saw no counterpart of hers amongst the residence of the zoo.

Can’t we take care of ourselves as well as we take care of our animals.  If we take our dogs or cats to the vet, don’t they suggest that we put our pets on a diet (and we comply right away) if they are overweight?

Do we need “keepers” or “owners” to take care of us so that our lifespans are lengthened and so we eat well and exercise enough to be healthy and maintain ideals weights?  I guess so because  we certainly are not capable of doing it on our own.

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