If they could hear us, I would say to those we use, confine and exploit: Though you live behind these walls, though there is a sea of humanity passing by you each day who look, but do not see, there are those of us who do
see. Please take some comfort in knowing that many of us who do see
you are working for your freedom and the freedom of future generations. Know that some of us appreciate you not for what we can get from you, but for what you inherently ARE, a unique and beautiful creature of the earth with moral significance. Many of us understand your rights to freedom from the slavery we've imposed. Hold fast. This photograph was taken at the Calgary Zoo in 2008. This baby was the third unsuccessful attempt to further their elephant breeding program. "Unsuccessful" because the mother rejected all three babies; all died, including this baby, just a few weeks after the photo was taken. Breeding programs at zoos often fall under the guise of conservation. However, most of these programs only serve to keep more animals in captivity and increase funds to the zoo (everyone loves to see the baby animals!). From the book "Thought to Exist in the Wild - Awakening from the Nighmare of Zoos", published by No Voice Unheard: What do we learn from zoos? What do we learn looking at the pathetic, dejected, angry, or insane animals? What do we learn beyond the platitudes on the plaques in front of the bars, moats, or electrified fences? We learn that humans are not animals. We learn that they are there for us, for our pleasure, our entertainment, our education: us. We learn that they have no existence independent of us. We learn that our world is limitless and their worlds are limited, constrained, constricted. We learn that we are more clever than they, or they would outwit us and escape. Or maybe that they do not want to escape, that the provision of bad food... and concrete shelter within a cage is more important than freedom (the importance of having humans internalize this lesson for their own lives cannot be overstated). We learn that we are more powerful than they, or we could not confine them. We learn that it is acceptable for the technologically powerful to confine the less technologically powerful (once again, the importance of having especially less technologically powerful humans internalize this message cannot be overstated). We learn that each and every one of us, no matter how powerless we may feel in our own lives, is more powerful than the most mighty elephant or polar bear. Why? Because we can come, and we can go. - Derrick Jensen. More images of captivity in the Zoo gallery of the We Animals site.