As a kid, my idea of a perfect weekend was going to the zoo. I loved animals, or that is what I told myself. The seven-year-old me could not have been more wrong.

Sure, I loved to watch animals, but did I love them? I can see the reflection of my childhood thoughts in my adult self and the people around me. I no longer like zoos, because all I see there is oppression. No longer do I see happy kids who are excited to see animals there, all I can see are animals behind bars for a crime which is committed against them, not by them.

Remember how restless we had been, when we were told to stay inside our houses because of the lockdown brought about by the pandemic? Streaming hours of movies, and a plethora of dishes also could not free us of the feeling of being trapped. We found a few months of lockdown hard to bear, and we still could go out for groceries. Try putting yourself in the shoes of those animals who we have caged for a lifetime for our entertainment.

We love to victimise ourselves when we are the ones creating millions of victims out of innocent animals. Some people dare say that it is the survival of the fittest. Well, would we still say the same for the terrorists planting bombs to kill hundreds of people?

We commit similar crimes against animals. We may not be the owners of the zoo, but we encourage them with our visits. The boards outside zoos showing happy animals brainwash children, and likewise, our smiles indicate to the young minds that zoos are fun.

We need to stop seeing animals as commodities and entertainment. They deserve the same respect we give to other humans. Love animals, not the idea of using them.