Would you imagine with me for just a moment?
Since we both love wild, exotic animals, let’s pretend we just bought a zoo together. With hundreds of different species now in our trust, we get to build a habitat for each one.
Let’s start with our lions. I think the perfect home for a big cat is a large room with a cement floor. We can paint it dark brown so it would feel like it has dirt and rock under his paws. He needs a beautiful smokey gray ceiling with florescent lights in the center imitating the sun. The lights would also help the plants grow and make the lion feel at home.
Of course it’s unconscionable to sacrifice smaller, helpless animals just to feed lions. There’s no need for that. These cats will eat only “stuffed animals” of our own creation, specially-designed so they will love it. We’ll serve a perfectly-sculpted soy gazelle for breakfast. At lunch, a stuffed-wheat antelope on a platter. We can have a life-size zebra laced with chocolate stripes — extra fortified, of course, with all the essential vitamins a growing lion needs.
Absurd you say?
Of course it is. Not in our wildest imagination would we consider taking a lion out of its natural habitat and creating a completely artificial one and feeding it manufactured (yet vitamin-fortified) food and expect it to thrive on any level. In fact, we pity the poor creature that’s born into captivity. And yet, this is precisely what we have done to ourselves.
Let’s face it: we were raised in industrial captivity with fake food. Like our imaginary lion born into captivity, we don’t know anything different. But what we do know, deep down is this just isn’t right. But how do we change it?