05/11/20 Animals suffer in isolation too, except it is for their whole lives
Animal Friends warn that due to a limited possibility of movement, animals are mentally broken
- In narrow spaces, they bite themselves and each other and suffer from psychosis and depression
In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone finds it difficult to deal with the restrictions on the right of movement. It can be seen from a large number of people who could hardly wait to go outside and socialize, despite recommendations for physical distancing or (self-)isolation.
Animal Friends organization points out the following: “Although you are in isolation, you still have an apartment or even a house with a garden. You have a TV, books, a mobile phone and many different kinds of entertainment, yet you are still having a hard time. Imagine that, as an equivalent of what animals are going through, you are trapped in an elevator all your life, with only food and water. That you are bored in that same, monotonous space, without the possibility of movement and entertainment while looking at the cage bars, not being able to feel the grass under your feet and the sun on your face. This is the exact way how animals being used by humans for food, clothes, experiments, or entertainment spend their entire lives.”
“Try to imagine how a pig feels when it cannot move because it is trapped in a farrowing crate, or a hen that spends its life in a space slightly bigger than the surface of a sheet of paper in a battery cage from where most of the eggs come, or a polar bear in a ZOO which has as much as a million times less space than in nature.”, Animal Friends say.
They also add that this unnatural state of isolation and spending time in a confined space without the possibility of seeing their families and friends is just a temporary issue for people, but they are already seeking the advice of a psychologist to help them withstand this extremely stressful situation. On the other hand, because of people’s bad life habits, animals are forced to live their whole lives that way.
“At industrial farms, animals suffer a great deal of stress, crammed in large numbers in small spaces, without the possibility of normal movement. For this reason, chicks peck each other to death with their beaks, and pigs bite off each other’s tails. In an attempt to prevent that, farmers often debeak the chicks with hot knives, while they cut off the tails of piglets or pull out their teeth, all without an analgesic to ease the pain. These animals are mentally broken just as much as we would be if our movement was restricted for months due to the pandemic and we could not go out”, Animal Friends are warning.
They point out that animals in ZOOs spend days, weeks, months, and years in a narrow, artificial environment, with very few opportunities for mental stimulation or physical activity, which makes their lives monotonous and sad, and animals suffer from depression, boredom, and psychosis. This results in an abnormal and self-destructive behavior which is called zoochosis (from zoopsychosis) and it is displayed through pacing back and forth, head bobbing, rocking, repeating steps, sitting motionless or self-inflicted physical harm such as biting or chewing their tail or leg.
Magnificent animals that would travel thousands of miles a day in their natural habitats are becoming pale shadows of themselves in ZOOs. Some ZOOs, in order to control problematic behaviors, give their animals antidepressants or tranquilizers.
Animal Friends recall the recent case of one German ZOO announcing that it would feed its prisoners with each other, due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. They point out that due to the constant hyperproduction of animals, ZOOs routinely kill excess animals.
They feed them to other animals or sell them to other ZOOs and animal dealers who will sell them further on to ranches, pet stores, circuses, exotic meat markets, and research institutions. It is estimated that ZOOs in Europe alone kill around ten thousand large mammals a year!
“No matter how long it lasts, the new coronavirus pandemic will pass and we will be able to move and socialize freely again. But precisely because of this, in moments when we can experience for ourselves a fraction of what they go through for most of their lives, we must not forget the countless animals that spend their lives in cages and narrow spaces of fur farms or the ones that end up in slaughterhouses, as well as those that are kept in captivity of ZOOs, circuses or aquariums for fun and profit”, Animals Friends conclude.
Now that it is clear to all of us how much freedom of movement and socialization are essential for happiness and a fulfilled life, Animals Friends urge everyone not to forget all those almost invisible animals for whom isolation never ends: “Switching to veganism and boycotting ZOOs and similar facilities is the least we can do to show compassion for other species. They are continuously endangered and affected by our bad habits and callousness, which is the cause of creating new infections that cause all of humanity to suffer.”