In 2005, I travelled throughout China or should I say that I fumed my way throughout the land of the rising sun, on a two-month trip to the country.
I’m a traveller who has learnt to live and let live when experiencing other cultures, yet the appalling treatment of animals in China wasn’t something I could ignore.
Yet, there was a ray of hope in the form of the Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Pandas, which I visited during my stay in the city.
I don’t believe in visiting zoos or watching animals perform, so the experience of seeing a panda with my own eyes, without exploiting them, was very special. Pandas are considered to be one of the natural treasures of China and are beloved the world over.
Pandas are magical creatures, gentle and soft, although you could say they are a little lazy. Their main activity is to work their way through copious amounts of bamboo, from what I could see.
Which is why pandas are in decline. Their natural bamboo habitat in China has been destroyed by humanity.
The purpose of the breeding centre is to preserve and breed pandas to ensure the survival of the species. You see, pandas have been on the verge of extinction since the 1980s, due to the destruction of their natural habitat. There are believed to be less than 2000 pandas left in the world today so the work of the organisation is vital to ensure their survival.
The centre is working to ensure that there are enough pandas alive to be able to release them back into the wild, if and when humanity decides to restore the pandas’ natural habitat. Indeed, the centre includes wildland of approximately 92 acres which provides a home for other species too.
The plight of the pandas is the perfect example of how humanity’s need to consume has led to the destruction of Mother Earth and how we have treated the animals on the planet. We may believe that we are not responsible for the decline if we live outside of China, yet take a look around your home or in your wardrobe. I guarantee that some of your household appliances, accessories, kitchen equipment or the clothes you wear will have been made in China.
With humanity’s continual need to consume Mother Earth’s resources, we have practised human privilege, placing ourselves above all other sentient beings. We raise and slaughter animals for our sensory pleasure as we feast on their flesh. We destroy their natural habitat in the name of our consumer-driven society. We torture animals in the name of scientific testing of chemicals to use in medicines, cleaning and beauty products. Even worse, we treat animals as a form of entertainment, in zoos, water parks and circuses, taking away their freedom as we tame them to do as we please.
We are not above the animals and they deserve to live in peace, wild and free, just as humans do.
Which is why we have to look after our animals unless we want to be responsible for the extinction of pandas and other creatures. We do this by leaving the animals and their natural habitat alone. This will only happen if humanity moves away from being a consumer-driven society. At the very least, we can boycott products from China.
Let’s put an end to the exploitation of animals in any shape or form. They deserve to be wild and they deserve to be free, just like you and me.
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(c) Samantha Wilson 2020. All rights Reserved.