ayearofcaptivity ayearofcaptivity

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A Year of Captivity  A companion social media project to Jo-Anne McArthur's new book Captive, examining how we see, or fail to see, animals in zoos & aquaria.

Away from the bright lights, sequins and loud music, the lives of performing elephants look like this. They're often shackled for hours each day and are moved from venue to venue in trucks barely bigger than their own bodies. Many will exhibit "stereotypic behaviours," such as rocking back and forth or moving their head from side to side - all of which indicate boredom, neurosis and depression.
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In the wild, these highly sociable animals are used to travelling in multi-generational families for miles each day, foraging for food, dust-bathing and even swimming.
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"Just out of Luke's reach was a hose. While no one was watching him, apart from me who took photographs from a distance, Luke strained against his shackles to reach the hose with his trunk. Eventually, he grasped it and pulled it towards him, enjoying having something to play with. His owner saw him with the hose and took it away. Luke resumed his swaying back and forth." - Jo
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📷: Luke the elephant. Shriner circus, Canada, 2006.
Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

An excerpt from Captive: "After years of documenting captive animals, I've seen too many of them living with inadequate or no enrichment. They exist without choice: on cement floors, next to cement walls, and under our rule. Sometimes, the captives are too despondent to move. I wonder again why it's 2017 and I'm still fighting this battle, still among a minority of people appealing for change. The photos I leave with are my contribution to that change. My goal, as always, is a difficult one: to get people to look, and to not turn away. To face this cruelty, after all, is to confront our own complicity in that cruelty. And like the cruelty to animals we see, our involvement in it is a painful thing to bear."
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Captive: the Book is available on Amazon: Link in bio.
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📷: Orangutans. Thailand, 2008.

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

An excerpt from Captive: "If you'd like to feel, viscerally, the urgency with which we need to remove intelligent, sentient animals from the choicelessness and confinement of zoos, spend a full day at a zoo. Zoo visits typically range from one to three hours. We leave because we're done, we've seen it all, and it's time to go somewhere else we choose to be."
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Captive is available on Amazon: Link in bio
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📷: Beluga. Canada, 2011.

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

"Many photos in this book, and in my work as a whole, depict children and their parents or caregivers as they encounter non-human animals. I show them because zoos and aquaria actively encourage children and their caregivers to come to be entertained or educated. In bringing children into the frame, I’m not criticizing any particular individual or group: all of us are in some way complicit in the maintenance and condition of these institutions. I document animals, but truly, these photos are a sociological study of we animals. Inevitably, my images reflect how varied are our reactions to the other animals: fascination, indifference, amusement, boredom, fear, even awe." - Jo .
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📷: Woman and child at a fish display. Germany, 2016.

Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

"When we visit new places, we like to take photographs of beaches and cathedrals, and not the crumbling houses or the homeless people living on the sidewalks. We tend to choose to look at what pleases us, what challenges us the least. We see what we like, and record experiences that affirm our participation in something interesting, or fun. We do this technically as well: less-than-savoury aspects of our experiences disappear when we choose a long lens and a shallow depth of field with which to focus on what we like, leaving the rest to fall away. This, however, doesn't change the reality for those we've turned our backs on—whether human or non-human. They remain, invisible and generally forgotten by us. This is why I choose a wide lens and a smaller aperture." - Jo
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Captive is available on Amazon: Link in bio
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📷: Asian elephant. France, 2016.
Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

A lion has been shot dead at a game park after attacking the owner of the park, who reared him since birth.

Exploitative breeding, selling, cub petting, and canned hunting of wild animals are prevalent in South Africa.

For lions, who have large home ranges in the wild, captivity causes extreme physical and psychological stress. Whether in zoos, circuses, or game parks, wild animals do not belong in captivity.
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📷: Lion. Kenya, 2009.

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

"It's time for us to be courageous and build a relationship between we animals and those animals based on respect and care. It's time to evolve and leave captivity behind." -- Jo
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In 2016, Jo-Anne worked with the Born Free Foundation on the EU Zoo Enquiry, which examined the current state of zoos and aquaria across the European Union. Jo-Anne visited dozens of facilities across nine countries. These images highlight the problems of keeping animals in captivity, and make up the majority of images seen in her book, Captive.
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Captive is available on Amazon: Link in bio.
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📷: Branch being passed between a child and a Barbary Macaque. Germany, 2016.
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Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

Things are about to change for dolphins at the National Aquarium​ in Baltimore, which has teamed up with Virgin Holidays​ to build the first dolphin sanctuary in North America.

The National Aquarium will re-home their seven dolphins at the sanctuary, which will be about 100 times as large as their current enclosure and will allow the dolphins to engage in many more of their natural behaviours.

The seaside sanctuary could set an inspiring example for other zoos and aquaria, improving the lives of many more captive sea mammals.
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📷: Dolphin. Canada, 2008.

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

"Like many tourists, I visit the local zoo or aquarium when I'm in a new city. Unlike most people, however, I'm there with my camera to document how the (non-human) animals are kept. I use the photographs to shed light on the darker corners of these establishments, and to educate citizens on why keeping animals captive for our amusement needs to change." ~ Jo-Anne McArthur
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Captive is available on Amazon. Link in bio.
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📷: Polar bear. Denmark, 2016.
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Jo-Anne McArthur/@bornfreefoundation

"He didn't like to see animals in captivity. When he looked into their eyes, something in their eyes looked back at him." ~ Rick Yancey
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The physical and mental well being of animals in captivity is compromised greatly, no matter how high the welfare standards of an institution are. These animals are confined to restrictive environments with little in way of stimulation, unable to fulfill many of their most basic natural instincts.
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Malayan sun bear. Pata mall, Thailand, 2008.
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Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Happy International Day of Forests!

Healthy forests need their native fauna. These black bears belong at home in the forests, not begging for food in captivity.
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📷: Black bears in a zoo. Canada, 2011.

Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Last weekend, zoos and aquaria around the world began using the hashtag #RateASpecies to review their resident animals as though they were products.

Referring to animals as "limited edition" "models" only reinforces the belief that they exist for our use. Objectifying animals by likening them to cars, speakers, and household appliances, obscures what the experience of animals in zoos really looks like.

Zoos claim that their focus is education. In reality, what we learn from seeing animals in captivity is that animals are here for our use and entertainment. We learn to ignore their sentience and their individuality. We learn that we are their lords and they are our things.

#RespectNotRatings #captive

Baltic grey seal. Lithuania, 2016.

Jo-Anne McArthur/@bornfreefoundation

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