We're not talking about Yishun.
This month, people are mourning 5,000 dead fish that were frozen in an ice skating rink in Japan, which was closed down just after a week due to complaints from animal activists.
While people have gotten worked up and vocal about the how these dead fish were treated, I find it strange that we hardly hear similar complaints about living animals that suffer on a daily basis for our entertainment.
Here’s some other places you may have visited without realising they were mistreating animals.
1. Animal themed cafes
Owl cafes, which are rampant in Japan, allow you to live out your owl-keeping, wand-holding, wizarding dreams.
Many times, these birds of prey are also chained to their posts and can only leave if a not-so-trained staff of the shop handles them. To be honest, it sounds more like a police station than a café.
Even J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books which populated the idea of keeping owls as pets, said: “If anyone has been influenced by my books to keep owls as pets…you’re wrong.”
This is only one type of animal café; there are also cat and dog cafés which have sprung up all over the world — including Singapore.
While it is good that cat cafés in Singapore offer their cats up for adoption and sterilise the cats that they take in, that doesn’t discount the stress that animals face when surrounded by people coming in and out of the café, especially during peak hours.
Think about that the next time you sit at a cat café to sip on a cup of coffee. You might want to go get a Starbucks instead.
2. Elephant rides
While the Singapore Zoo stopped conducting elephant rides in 2014, many other regions in Asia still allow visitors to feel like they’re on top of the world by riding the world’s largest land animal.
However, elephant trainers often use cruel tactics such as starvation just to gain submission from the elephants.
On average, five elephants die during training for every one that makes it to the tourism industry.
These rides and shows are fun additions to our holidays, but rarely do we consider the years of pain the elephants have to go through just for us to enjoy these few minutes.
3. Patin fishing ponds
This takes the cake— or rather, the hook. Foul hooking, that is.
Patin fishing allows visitors to try their luck at catching large fish within a small pond, without a worm on the line.
Because of the size of the hooks, they are usually unable to catch the fish, instead ripping out large chunks of flesh and producing wounds.
If they’re lucky, the fish get put out of their misery by being caught. Otherwise, they do as a famous blue finned fish does and “just keep swimming” as they bleed into the water.
A fun pastime for many, come here to fish if you’d like to discover how many hooks a fish can take before they finally die, or if you’d like to possibly discover a new type of bacteria!
4. Photo taking points
Usually seen at tourist hotspots around the world, many exotic animals that have been captured in order to become props for your holiday photos.
These animals are often sedated in order of them to be safe enough to be handled by humans. In more extreme cases, they are chained to the ground, and left weak and hungry so that they won’t be able to retaliate.
Many stars have also encouraged the act, with Justin Bieber posing with tigers and Rihanna posing with a slow loris.
While some fans wished to be in the animal’s place, they probably do not know that these animals spend their lives cooped in captivity, eventually getting sent to a hunting facility or euthanized.
It’s not just about buying illegal trade anymore, we have stand for the animals that are suffering for our entertainment.
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