Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the savage way we have been operating the zoos. In the pre-Covid days, we allowed the animal parks to be open for public for six days a week in an effort to make maximum amount of profit. The incarcerated wild animals including many which are wary of the presence of humans were poked at, mocked, jeered or greeted by thousands of unwanted visitors at their tiny cages every day .

But the moment the zoos were shut down for months at a stretch over the coronavirus fears, a long reign of peace descended on these zoological gardens. They became healthy, started eating timely, their digestion improved, they behaved just the way they acted in a forest and they got back the sexual hunger to mate with their partners. As a result, just ten months into the virus outbreak, the animals in the zoos bred in record numbers.

Now that the authorities have reopened the zoos for public across the country, I think our animal rights activists must launch a massive campaign demanding increased holidays in the animal parks. Let us fight for at least a three-day weekly holidays in the zoos and a mandatory seven-day shutdown without a break in every two months.

Zoos should be dismantled in the first place. They are a violation of the rights of the hapless wild animals. But since it is impossible to resettle the animals back to the forests, we should instead introduce a three-four day holidays in these parks. It will at least give some much needed rest to these much tortured animals. I am sure it would help nourish the zoo animals and improve their psychological well being. Let’s do it.

Why is it that mostly the Bangladeshi women care for animals and men barely raise a voice when animals are abused and their rights are blatantly violated. In the recent protests to halt the eviction of street dogs from Dhaka South, more than 90 percent of the activists were women and girls as young as 12. Since 2012 Bangladeshi women overwhelmingly led the protests to halt the culling of stray dogs. They also played a key role in pushing some of the key features in the landmark animal welfare act, passed some two years ago. Why don’t we see many men in these noble efforts? What’s wrong with the Bangladeshi men?

 

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