Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Free Day at the Animal Jail

Just as Mother Theresa said she was not anti-war, she was pro-peace. I am going to say I'm not anti-zoo, I'm pro-animal freedom (not that I can even compare myself to her). If you didn't know or can't tell, I have some issues with the zoo and I refuse to pay to enter. I do understand that my tax dollars are supporting the zoo, but there is really nothing I can do about that. It just doesn't feel right to cage up all these poor animals. People have told me over and over how great the zoo animals have it, they don't have to look for food, they don't have to struggle, they have controlled environment etc. etc. It sound pretty much like a jail to me, and I don't see anyone signing up for that.

Now you may be asking, why did I go to the zoo? Well, in my efforts to be a good mother, I would hate to deprive my children the opportunity to see the animals up close. It was free zoo day, and I take advantage of it every year, I even thought about taking Reece out of school that day so he could go, because you know we are NOT paying to go another time.

Mason was a little nervous at first, all these animals, are those cages really strong enough to hold those elephants?

This is Maya, ready to leave as soon as we got there, she is terrified. Or maybe she is like her mother and is feeling extreme compassion for these animals and doesn't want to be a part of their captivation. Or maybe she was just terrified.
Maya was terrified of the animals, I was terrified by this huge growth on the elephant. It was only on one side, and I'm just hoping this elephant is 'with child'.

They soon warmed up to the animals, how could you not love a zebra? It is a horse with stripes.

And of course how could any kid not love Pumba from the Lion King?

And Happy Feet! I'm sure these penguins love the summers here in Utah!

The accommodations for the giraffes are amazing. So realistic, I'm sure it feels just like the African Savannah! These kids obviously don't care about the accomodations, they just wanted their picture taken with the giraffe.
Now, I must say that the tiger was thrilling to see with it's massive catlike body, huge paws and teeth, and beautiful markings.
The cheetah was even more thrilling, it was pacing back and forth in front of the window hissing at all of us. The kids were glued to the window for about 10 mins. I have to admit, I almost thought it would be worth coming back and actually paying to get in. But I erased those evil thoughts from my mind.
The most interesting part of the trip to the zoo for me was how many 'leashed' children there were. I swear over 50% of the kids had leashes on disguised as a cute backpack.
Here is another one. Now, here is my question, why can't this mother just hold her child's hand? She doesn't have hoards of other children to watch over or worry about, it is just him. Why the leash? Show your child some love, hold his hand and experience the zoo hand in hand and not pulling him on a leash.

Now, this mother takes the cake in my book. No cute little backpack for this little tyke, oh no. She pulled out the big guns and actually hooked her child up to an actual dog leash, attached to his belt buckle. This one does have the added feature of being retractable, unlike the cute backpacks.

How do you feel about the zoo and 'leashing' children? I will now step down from the soap box.


Jan said...

I love the zoo.. however, you totally make me laugh. I think you are pretty funny. I just have a hard time getting up to the zoo to take my kids. LEASHING CHILDREN is a joke. can't you just hold your childs hand, or strap them in a stroller.. oh please, a leash.. I am obviously not a leash mom. My kids are timid I guess, they would never run off from us.. (well, i guess you can never say never!)

Kristi said...

I am totally pro-leash. Not like all the time or anything, but at like parades and zoos and stuff. I bought a leash for Gwen, I don't think I ever actually used it but there were a lot of times leading up to the purchase that I wished I had one (the fireworks show comes to mind-it was dark, crowded and she wouldn't hold still). Gwen's not a hand holder.She likes to wander. I would choose putting her on a leash over having her get lost in a crowd or run over in the street.

m. said...

why we changed our minds & are now pro-leash:
I have to say, the cute monkey backpacks make all the difference in the world. The reason I decided trying it out was because Flynn refused to hold my hand. He actually loves wearing his backback(which really does function as a back pack & the tail is removeable). He will even ask me to hold the tail. Flynn loves the backpack because he gets to be free to walk on his own. He wants to walk ahead of us & can without us freaking out that he will bolt at any second (which he frequently does). We still try to hold his hand instead, but he just drops to the ground until he can twist it away. & ditto on everthing Kristi said. We don't use it all the time but the zoo is one of those places wear it works out great. One thing being a mom has taught me is that every child is different & that I frequently have to readjust my ideals for what works best for them. Becoming pro-leash was one of those things. Especially for Brett who was a big leash basher. (& by the way, I have seen your kids in action once & could not believe how well behaved they are! i'm jealous they will hold your hand..)
oh. & zoos are totally a guilty pleasure. i m impressed with your dedication to that ideal!

Nora Mair said...

I was there that day and the leashes were out in full force! Loved the "African Savannah" comment. The pacing cheetah was disturbing. Also the metal prongs--did you see those?

m. & m. said...

I wanted to come and say that leashes were ridiculous but Kristi and Megh made such good arguments that I can't! I will say that if it's just one child it seems that even if they won't hold your hand you could probably keep an eye on them. BUT whenever I see a mom with young multiples - I am all about the leash. My boys are crazy but I guess they crave my attention enough to hold my hand. The way you accomplish that is by spending far too much time reading other people's blogs instead of talking to them!

Jennifer said...

The zoo makes me sad. Sad to see the animals penned up, and sad to learn some of the stupid things people do while they're there visiting them (the display of things humans threw into the hippo pool comes to mind).

Sure, proponents say that zoos offer a home for injured animals or those who otherwise wouldn't survive in the wild. But that just makes me sad, too. Last time I was there, I thought it ironic to read the plaque about the cheetah, and how fast this creature can run. Where? To the other end of its pen?

So do I take my children to the zoo? YES! All this said, the zoo gives them a unique glimpse of animal life. It gets them excited. It's a springboard for us to learn about real-life conditions for these animals, and to maybe impart a bit of compassion and activism for animals the world over. If that didn't happen, that would be the saddest of all.

(Back to your soapbox, Marisa! . . . I dare not even enter the leash debate!)

Kathy said...

i love the zoo. never used a leash - but my girls have always stayed close to us.

Julie said...

You have to remember that not all zoos are created equal. If you have been to the San Diego zoo or wild animal park you know what I am talking about.

The purpose of zoos is conservation and education. People can come and learn about animals that are endangered and why, and learn what can be done to make sure there are more of them in the wild and less in zoos and controlled habitats.

It sucks these animals are in zoos, I totally agree. And some zoos are horrible - they claim to be promoting the humane treatment of animals and then are keeping animals in unclean and too-small habitats, and not properly caring for their health. There used to be a lot more zoos - and luckily many of them have been shut down.

There are some GREAT zoos out there besides just the one in San Diego - in fact, I would say Houston has one of the better zoos in the U.S.

As for leashes, I don't have a dog in that fight (hehe), so no comment :)

Vanalee said...

The last time I went to the Hogle Zoo I couldn't wait to leave. I have never really liked zoos, but will agree that the Houston one has really improved in the last few years. Right after my last visit to Hogle Zoo I found a website that listed all the regulations that zoos nationwide have broken. I am not sure what the official name is for the zoo police, but Hogle Zoo was definitely at the top of the list with many violations. As for the leash issue...when Alex was about 2we found ourselves in Hong Kong for several days. The streets were jam packed with people, it was impossible to push a stroller and he was refusing to hold my hand. I went to Toys-R-Us and bought a leash that connected our wrists. He never wore it. He had the option of holding my hand or wearing it. If he let go of my hand I would pull the leash out and he would immediately grab my hand. Marisa, you are great on a soapbox!

The Peake Family said...

I have to totally agree with you. It drives me crazy.. I automatically start wondering why the mother cant just take control of their children. I also think leasing is kinda an easy way out. You do not even have to pay attention to your child anymore, you just drag them around by the lease. Fun times!!

stressedkris said...

I love your cute comments! I totally agree with you about the zoo. I wouldn't go there even when we lived right by there.

Although Kimmie's school class went three year's go for a field trip so I packed Johnny in the stroller and went along. Kimmie was looking at an animal I reached into my bag to get something for Johnny and she was gone. It is the worst thing to have your child lost in Hogle Zoo. The security wasn't really helpful at first, although they moved very fast when I said that she was a child with special needs and has severe seizures. Then they moved the task force was in full bloom. She was missing for 25 minutes. I was having visions of her loving and huging the polar bears. Then vision of her being eaten. The zoo had the cops on the way and a lock down to make sure she didn't get out. Luckly she had a vest on that said what school she was from. Some nice lady saw her in line for food at the eating places realized she wasn't were she was suppose to be. She called the school on the tag and sat her down to eat with her kids. The school called the zoo, who called me on my cell. I will definately use a leash next time I head to the "Animal Jail."

dee said...

I agree with hold your child's hand and not leash them. However, I didn't have a super active child so I won't pass judgment for now.
The zoo here in Yuzhno is so bad from what I hear that I refuse to go! It is extremely small, meaning, also small cages!
Normally I love a nice spread out zoo!

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