Zoos as corporal punishment – Birth of an Elephant

Watch and think about this video. What do you Feel? How can we Grow beyond this way of relating to and interacting with other life forms? What does it say about humans, that this is Our Way?

Imagine giving birth in a jail at just 17 years old after being impregnated unwillingly by a 43-year-old male; It could be you, your mother, sister, cousin, aunt or friend at 17 years old, giving birth under duress, major stress; legs chained and roped to steel bars. Vagina being probed by many strange hands poking at the unborn child inside, uterus and cervix contracting, trying to release the baby. There is a loud gush as mucus and amniotic fluid hit the floor, transforming cold hard concrete to a slick, bloody pool of First Water. She is overwhelmed by the pain and understandably, acts out because of it.

With no protective circle of female relatives around to coax, support, comfort and calm her through the birth of her child, her progeny arrives after she bears down and pushes the baby out. At the very least she may be ambivalent, but her temperament suggests anger, frustration, a willingness to be the martyr to sacrifice her own heart and well-being by attempting to mercifully take her child’s life to save him from a similar fate of captivity and forced breeding. Imagine that act is misunderstood by her captors and she is treated like a “dumb animal” because of it. Mercy is a decidedly punishable act in the face of institutionalized rape and forced breeding. Because it decreases potential profits. Justice is a blissful thread of naiveté not woven into the fabric of the ideology of the accrediting organization, the American Zoological Association.

Former zoo worker and aquarium volunteer

Shawndel N. Fraser


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