Day 392: Who will Fight for My Happiness?

Welcome to the controversial zoo where gorillas, tigers and penguins are held in cages and forced to perform tricks on top of a department store.

The animals occupy the upper two floors of the Pata store in the bustling Bang Phlat area of Bangkok, Thailand.

An estimated 200 animals are kept here, with regular shows taking place in which monkeys are trained to fire-juggle, perform in drag and take part in mock fights with keepers.

But on the floors beneath, shoppers snap up cheap T-shirts, watches and shoes.

The private zoo charges foreigners 200 baht, around £4.20, to enter, but it is believed mainly locals frequent the attraction.

British photographer Bronek Kaminski, who spent 18 months secretly documenting the animals, said within 200 steps visitors can catch a glimpse of up to 50 exotic animals.

His images show a solitary penguin waddling next to a small pool of water with air-conditioning units attempting to keep the enclosure cool in the scorching Thai heat.

Meanwhile King Kong, the resident gorilla, is seen silently grasping the iron bars of his cage. - Mail Online

Who defends the rights and happiness of these, and so many more, animals? There is so much we have done in the name of survival and profit - and in order to do it we have had to switch off our empathy to the plight of those we have exploited, which turns out to be pretty much everything on the planet, living or otherwise. Everything we have touched, explored, discovered, tweaked, experimented on - we have tainted. We warp and twist everything around us to suit our needs, regardless of the consequences.

So, we commit genocide on a daily basis. We perform mass evictions on a daily basis. We neglect and abuse millions on a daily basis. If we do not stand for the rights and happiness of those who are unable to speak, then who will? If we do not undertake to care for and sustain life with consideration and foresight, then who will? Animals cannot fight us. They cannot tell us that what we are doing causes them pain. They cannot tell us that what we are doing is evil. They cannot tell us that they would never do to another single being what we do on a daily basis to BILLIONS.

So who will stand for those who are caged simply for being who they are? How will we reach a point where we can institute a democratic action that actually considers other beings? How will we reach a point where we can look outside our lives, outside our personal dramas, to see that this life is not one that we have honoured - for that would require that we actually honour life?

Who will cry for those who have never known joy? Will we be able to spare a few moments of attention in our day to consider the lives of others? We are so consumed by our make up, hair, clothes, accessories, skin care, entertainment, love, sex, lust, white picket fence, reputation - but what do these things matter to a being who lives in a space the size of a bath tub? We live like these parts of life are the be all and end all, but in truth they are distractions. If we can keep ourselves worried about the trivial things, then we won't have to do anything about the things that actually matter. Maybe you disagree - but if this wasn't the case then we would not be in this situation in the first place.

How many people actually teach their children to respect animals, or nature? A very small minority. Children, in general, treat animals appallingly - because their parents do not know or care to teach them differently. I fear that when the current generation of youths become the ruling class, there will be no safe place for animals from the cruelty of man.