Our Summer trip to Znojmo was a really nice experience, particularly the vineyard tour we were thrilled to receive. The town itself is really beautiful with narrow cobbled streets and a compact layout that makes it easy enough to explore in the best part of a day.
While exploring the town we came across a rather depressing display of birds of prey. It was of course exciting to see these wonderful creatures up close and personal, and I know they are captive animals but there was something about them that was quite saddening.
You could see it in their eyes, that amazing life that bursts from their pupils when you see them on TV just wasn’t there. There was a sense of despair in their eyes and the way they hobbled around on the ground. These creatures belong in the sky, soaring high above the landscape, yet here they were chained to a small wooden stoop to be ogled at by tourists.
I’ve been to a number of zoos and for the most part I have no issues with them, especially if they are actively involved in breeding programs for rare animals or create large open spaced areas for the animals to roam within. But this display just seemed so pointless and cruel. Creatures whose primary function had been deleted, whose majesty and dignity had been all but destroyed. I felt sorry for them.
The lives of these birds contrasted sharply with an experience we had on Grouse Mountain near Vancouver, Canada a few weeks later. There was an open air display of birds of prey in flight and the difference between the two was night and day. The birds on Grouse were free to fly out over the mountainside and were regularly given food. They looked healthy and far more natural than those in Znojmo and there wasn’t the same sense of despair in their eyes. They were free…..sort of.
Of course ideally no animals should be kept in captivity but alas, thanks in no small part to man’s intervention, it has become a necessary evil to keep animals in captivity for their own safety. We take away their dignity and freedom in order to save their lives. I guess that’s an ok trade-off when you look at it that way, but I find it leaves me with a bit of an empty feeling. I’d be interested to hear what those of you reading this think about animals in captivity, sound off in the comments section with your thoughts. A necessary evil or a barbaric indignation for wild animals?
- Windows of Znojmo (czechingoutofhere.wordpress.com)