This article is written by Kamalia Elective Individual, writer, journalist and editor-in-chief of The Independent in Persian, and the opinions below express her opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the view of CNN.
It has been more than a month since the world sank in the Corona Virus crisis and forced people in many cities and villages to stay indoors. It all happened while I was thinking of writing an article on animal rights.
I wanted to write about the animal’s right to life and respect for wildlife and to talk about what humankind has done for other creatures on this earth.
As cities expand and populations increase, animal environments become increasingly smaller and less secure. Cities are close to wildlife habitats and the lucrative trade in animals continues.
What did the animals earn from living with humans? Narrow and bad zoos are full of animals and are trained (perhaps better to say punishing) for use in entertainment and circus.
Have you seen the painful video of a monkey being chained and punished by a Chinese coach for teaching him how to ride a bike? Have you seen depressed bears, who have a condition known as Zoo Syndrome, with their anxious faces climbing non-stop up and down a set of stairs? Or innocent penguins, who are happy to see artificial snowfall when they are in captivity, just because they were getting a little artificial dignity from humans? Even that artificial snow was not intended to make captive animals happy, but to shoot a fun video that could spread successfully on the Internet.
Have you seen hungry lions so much that their bones are clearly prominent in the Khartoum Zoo in Sudan?
We recently published an article in Persian in the Persian newspaper, The Independent, translated from English, on training elephants to use for tourists in Thailand and zoos. I chose the article for translation, but her story about the experience of captive elephants in captivity was so sad and painful that I couldn’t read it to the end. My colleague oversaw the publication of the article and told me about the pain she experienced when editing and publishing it. For hours after that, she had to deal with increased heartbeat and a mind full of ideas about the oppression that is occurring against many organisms.
The article talked about the hunger experienced by young elephants until they are tamed to stay in their cages;
We humans have wisdom, dignity and compassion. We have hearts and minds capable of love and affection. But what did we do to the animals? This dirty industry includes smugglers and merchants whose black hearts know nothing but money. But it also includes the participation of the people helping the show to survive. Those who line up await their turn to ride elephants or give carrots to monkeys. Those who go to the circus to see lions, foxes and tigers jump from fire hoops; or to see monkeys and other living creatures walking on ropes. Do they know the nature of the violence used to train these animals?
Circus and Zoo are one side of the story. The other side of this despicable trade is the eating of these animals. Wild animals are stolen from their environment and sold at markets thousands of kilometers away, as if it were wood or a carpet.
The evil of violating animal rights and ignoring their right to life is now the greatest challenge facing humanity since the Second World War. We spent enough time in our homes and read enough to know that unimaginable alien animals are eaten as food in Asia.
The trade and eating of bats, poisonous snakes, birds, and wild reptiles is not due to hunger or food shortages but rather to adventure and pride in financial capabilities in front of those who do not have enough money to buy and eat dishes such as bat soup.
I am not a philosopher, but I do believe that coming up with such vile innovations in eating habits as a way to brag about one’s social status shows the emptiness of mankind and its moral retreat, just as it shows separation from human values and the culture of seeking false supremacy over others.
We are all seeing nature’s revenge, or perhaps, as physicists say, “Every action has a reaction!” Corona virus has been transmitted to humans from wildlife organisms. Scientists can tell us exactly how that happened. But there is a truth that we can talk about: the bad behavior of humanity towards living beings on this earth shows a lack of insight and morals which has led to suffering and death for millions.
Theft of animals, the destruction of wildlife, the exploitation of livestock, the most lethal to eat, is now causing confusion and implication for all mankind.
After the quarantine period ends and we all return to normalcy (which seems very far today), human life will undergo many changes.
Human values, meetings, and the way we communicate with each other will change forever.
But let’s see the full half of the cup. Let’s hope that our generation is the last person to have seen a zoo at all; and the last to hear about wild animals captured in the cages of the home as pets. Let Corona be a turning point, an end to the unethical suppression of living beings. Governments can make the necessary changes by law.
The first stop should be the criminalization of wildlife trade and animal killing. Breaking this cycle could become the greatest achievement for humanity in the post-Corona virus emerging period.