I am writing in response to Cheung On-ki's letter "Should we keep zoos?" (Young Post, March 16).
Imagine you are an animal in a zoo. Even though you are given food and water every day, you have to stay in the cage all day and night. It's lonely and terrifying. You're like a criminal in jail. You are away from your family, so you feel depressed. You can't do anything about the hordes of people who come past your cage each day to take hotos. It sounds awful and it is. This is how animals live in zoos.
Animals don't deserve to live like this. They cannot speak and tell us how angry or sad they are. How selfish we are! Is it fair to keep these creatures in cages just to entertain us? People make excuses about being able to protect animals from extinction, or giving them better treatment than in the wild, but that is all they are: excuses. I believe animals prefer to live free.
To sum up, animals belong to nature, not to be kept or bred by man. I support On-ki's view, zoos should be banned, and animals should be returned to their natural homes.
Gaby Chow, Kowloon True Light School
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Gaby. It is clear you feel deeply for animals, and they're lucky to have such an advocate for their rights.
But I think you are making a big generalisation when you talk of "cages". Modern zoos do all they can to keep animals in a better, more natural way. Singapore's zoo is a great example of this, where animals are kept in as natural surroundings as possible and have a place to get away from the public.
It is wrong to assume that we as people know what animals are thinking or feeling. The fact is we don't, and so we can't base our debate on what we presume.
While it is ideal for animals to be in their natural homes, we have to be able to preserve those homes. With our population expanding the way it is, this becomes more and more difficult.