Appalling Animal Attraction: Beppu Jigoku
It’s the one attraction that Beppu, Japan, is known for. The Beppu Jigoku, or “hells” in English, are eight natural hot springs that hundreds of tourists eagerly visit each year. Each jigoku has its own unique atmosphere, and while the hot springs themselves may be pleasing to the eye (and the skin!), the suffering of animals that can be seen at three of the springs isn’t so camera-friendly.
At the Shiraike Jigoku, a small rundown aquarium is secluded behind the glamorous white pond. The aquarium is easy to miss and includes disgusting small tanks filled with miserable-looking fish. Removing the aquarium from the Shiraike Jigoku wouldn’t harm anyone and would provide the fish with a much happier life.
Although the Oniyama Jigoku is often advertised as a breeding ground for crocodiles, the enclosures there are more crowded than commuter trains during rush hour. The water in the pens is dirty, and the crocodiles are obviously denied everything that is natural and important to them. Concrete walls and metal fences cannot serve as adequate substitutes for a crocodile’s natural habitat.
The last and worst abuser on the list is the Yama Jigoku. You can’t help but notice the abused animals who are advertised as denizens of a “zoo.” A hippopotamus is forced to live in an enclosure that is smaller than an average swimming pool. An elephant stands behind metal bars like a prisoner in a jail cell. Other animals are trapped in small cages that would make any compassionate person cringe. The best way to help these animals is not to support this cruel animal exhibit. These animals may not be advertised as the area’s main attraction, but a visit to the hot springs would condone the conditions that they are forced to endure. Please speak out against these abuses.
Post written by PETA Asia intern Victoria Wall