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Thank God for the good fortune to be able to sit down and get the series done today. I didn’t expect to be able to put it out until August! Today’s image is one that I originally intended to include but ultimately had to remove.

Untitled Ape by David Bickley Photography

I believe you’ll agree once you look at the full series that it just didn’t support the message. If you’d like to check it out, the series is called “Imprisoned” and you can find it here. For those of you reading this on my site, you can see the same thing by clicking “Personal Work” on the left side.

So what’s this all about…

The act of visiting a zoo has always sat rather uneasily with me. The reason for this isn’t the crowds, the heat, the miles of walking, or the generally overpriced concessions. None of that matters to me; however, the feeling I get from the animals does. Sorry to sound all Dr. Dolittle on you but it’s true. I watch the body language and the expressions on their faces and all I’m left with is sadness. What kind of life could be led in a cage?

I understand that many zoos are directly responsible for tremendous conservation efforts. My intention isn’t to speak against the zoos themselves, but rather against the population’s lack of regard for animals as other living beings. There is a horrid lack of respect among the majority. We care about our pets but the compassion seems to end there, and many people don’t even treat their pets right. Our sympathies go out to communities of people whose homes are destroyed by nature, yet we steadily destroy the homes of beings we consider beneath us. Our solution to their declining state then becomes safety in captivity. We know what happens to people left in confinement yet we don’t think that applies to anything else. We continue to believe that animals can’t communicate, aren’t intelligent, don’t feel, and therefore have no emotions. All this despite the proof that a gorilla can learn to speak sign language. Despite the fact that there are videos of dogs trying to rescue other dogs that have been hit by cars. Despite obvious cases of mourning the loss of a loved one. Somehow the thought of an animal being capable of love is too far fetched for us.

Some would quote Genesis 1:28, where we are told we have dominion over all things on Earth. But does “dominion” mean the right to grant and take life? Dominion actually means “the power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority.” Like all power, it can be taken too far and become destructive.

Are we set apart from them? Yes, in many ways we absolutely are.

They may not be as advanced as we are. They can’t build skyscrapers or solve complex equations but they can damned sure feel like we do. Heartbreak, depression, love, and happiness are not exclusively human.

No life is meant to be confined and gawked at.

See you tomorrow,