Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Captivity vs. Freedom

When Lad Lake met for the first time I explained to the boys what HAWS is all about and gave them a tour. One of the special treats they were able to see was the marmoset we had had surrendered. Jerry wasn't available for adoption --he was being housed in a back room that was off limits to the public while we tried to figure out what exactly we were going to do with him.

As the boys were looking at Jerry I explained that I didn't think it was right to keep wild animals as pets. I explained that in the wild marmosets would be able to roam for miles and live in the rainforest in large groups. Kept as pets we can't even begin to replicate that natural habitat, and since they are wild animals being kept in captivity their natural behaviors can't possibly be fulfilled which means that they most likely aren't happy being kept as pets.

The boys, captivated by how cool Jerry was, didn't buy into it. One asked why it was ok for zoos to keep monkeys. I explained that zoos have larger enclosures than what a person keeping a pet monkey would be able to provide, and additionally had full-time staff to ensure that not only were the animals cared for appropriately, but that zoo staff spent a good amount of time providing environmental enrichment opportunities to ensure the animals had the mental and physical stimulation they needed to be happy.

The boys still weren't convinced. And when they heard that captive animals tend to live longer than wild animals they jumped on that as an excuse to keep wild animals as a pet.

"Wouldn't it be better for them to live as a pet and live longer?", one of them asked.

I asked the boys if they'd rather live for 70 years in a jail cell or for 30 years in freedom. They seemed to get it.

No comments: