Zoos restrict natural animal life, create hostile setting


art by Yasmeen El-Jayyousi

Urmilla Kuttikad

art by Yasmeen El-Jayyousi
art by Yasmeen El-Jayyousi
The year is 4058. Extraterrestrial life forms have, of course, occupied Planet Earth.
It was only a matter of time.
Cohabitation is a generally viable option for those humans who keep to themselves and pose no threat whatsoever to the ETs. However, the rest are not so lucky. Any sect of human that rebels or shows aggression is considered “brutish,” “primitive,” a threat to alien life. The aliens either kill those humans in self-defense or keep a tense distance.
And then there are the zoos, one of the alien race’s favorite pastimes, especially on lazy Sunday afternoons. The ecstasy on little alien childrens’ faces as they clutch the zoo bars, green hands sticky with ice cream, is invaluable. They roar with glee at the sheer diversity: big humans, little humans, tall humans, small humans. “Europeans” and “Africans” and “Americans” and “Asians,” braids and bell-bottoms and buzzcuts and bracelets.
The humans are kept in enclosures, but it’s OK because aliens have made the enclosures to emulate natural human habitats, which is just as good as the real thing, really. Most enclosures, therefore, include hollowly flickering TV sets and arrays of couches that humans are rumored to have lived on. ET schools often take their young children on field trips to zoos because viewing humans in this honest natural habitat is an invaluable educational experience.
A few alien extremists have begun to call into question the issue of controversial “human rights.” Their points about the morality of keeping other life forms in cages for sheer entertainment strike a vague chord of discomfort with the general alien population, but oh, look at how cute the humans are! Getting to enjoy them is surely a right, not a privilege.
‘Plus,’ the general alien population argues, getting increasingly defensive, ‘humans are clearly intellectually inferior life forms. Look at the way they ravaged their only planet in foolish irreverence. Look at the way they fought and destroyed in dizzying fits of violent pettiness. And look at how they communicate in a primitive gibberish that we can’t begin to understand. And there are so many of them that what difference is a few humans here and there going to make? Yes … perhaps it’s actually a good thing that humans are in zoos.’
And thus the alien masses satisfiedly reconcile the concept of human zoos with their own consciences, and the extremists are lost in the tide of public apathy.
The Human Conservation Zoos are still present, quietly working toward communal betterment in the backdrop, but far and wide the other type of zoo reigns, where corners are cut when it comes to quality of life. This is understandable, though, because it’s hard to feel empathy for life forms that one can’t communicate with, and it’s hard to condemn wrongdoings if they are based in a moral inability to empathize.
The Copenhagen Human Zoo, however, has recently come under widespread alien criticism because it has put five humans down in the past few months. However, it is a little known fact that aliens harbor the moral right to slaughter humans at whim under the official title of “human population management.” Thousands upon thousands are killed each year because aliens didn’t foresee that the tightly regulated environments they set up wouldn’t be conducive to natural population growth. Thus, further regulation in the form of murder is necessary to maintain the elaborate structures they created. Again, this is OK, though, because much of these thousands are small, inconsequential, ugly humans, and everybody knows if they’re not cute, they don’t count.
Perhaps zoos, in another thousand years, will face more scrutiny from the alien race, but for now this looks unlikely. The educational messages put forth by keeping the cohabitants of their planet in viewing cages are invaluable, and the incredible entertainment value is, quite frankly, the only thing the aliens care about anyway. Furthermore, the aliens have only been on the planet a couple thousand years, so it makes sense that they still haven’t quite gotten the hang of morality. For now, it’s important to remember that zoos are a good thing but don’t think about it too much. After all, it’s rumored that humans, too, had their zoos once.
By Urmila Kutikkad