#galaxygirl – Bev Smith

You hate school. Your family is beyond annoying. Your only friend comes from a different planet, and she’s about to leave.

What’s a girl to do?

Fed up with life on Earth, Esme stows away on the spaceship taking Stella back to Planet Kratos.

So begins Esme’s adventure into a world beyond the stars. A world of strange creatures, thrilling journeys, heroic rescues and instant fame.

Oh, and school. Lots of school.

Along the way she discovers that friends may be greener on the other side, but they still can’t be trusted.

Millions and billions of light years away from Earth, she sets in motion a plan to escape. Unfortunately for her, they aren’t about to let their prize exhibit leave anytime soon…

 

 

Guest post

I am very pleased to share a guest post with you about this question : Is there a future for zoos?

***

One of the themes in #galaxygirl is animal rights, more specifically the care of zoo animals.

The first time I felt uncomfortable whilst visiting a zoo occurred in the early ‘90s. I, like many, am fascinated by nature, particularly marine life. A qualified diver, I’ve been fortunate to dive the Barrier Reef and other spots around the world.

Arriving at the polar bear enclosure I remarked on how small it was. Then the poor inhabitant came out. It was truly disturbing to witness the level of distress the animal was in. This was made obvious by the non-stop pacing backwards and forwards, coupled with the way in which it was swinging its head from side to side. It’s an image that has never left me. I’m not sure what happened to the polar bear, but they don’t have one today. It makes no difference, we didn’t go back to that zoo.

Personally, I can see both sides of the arguments regarding zoos. They are seen as prisons for animals: it’s unfair to take an animal and put it in a cage. But many zoos do a good job of replicating the animal’s natural habitat. The smaller the creature the easier it is to do this, which can – and does – lead to problems with larger animals, such as elephants, giraffe and lions.

Another argument is that we shouldn’t use capture and use animals for our entertainment. Agreed, wholeheartedly. But the majority of animals in our zoos have been bred within the zoo, they’ve not been captured. Some have been rescued. The educational benefits of zoos, teaching a new generation about the danger of extinction and the need to care for animals, may go some way to wobbling this argument a little. There is work being done to help species who are on the endangered animal list. To some extent this argument is a case of asking a simple question: what is worse – captivity or extinction?

What I am predominantly against is animals not being cared for properly within zoos. Confined living space, lack of food or medical care; all of which are needed to ensure animals are well cared for. I understand that there are a lot of zoos out there which provide these things, but there are also some that don’t. There have been some horrific cases over the previous couple of years of zoos which have been forced into closing due to neglect of the animals. Quite right too.

PETA, the famous animals rights charity, has a list of simple questions which can be addressed to specific zoos and animal sanctuaries to determine if it is exploiting animals. You will find the list here: https://www.peta.org/features/real-animal-sanctuary-zoo/

It’s good to note that many of the zoos in the UK meet most of these requirements. What is important is to ensure all of them do. If you visit a zoo and see any signs of neglect, please don’t hesitate to report it to the local council or to any one of the many animal rights organisations, such as PETA or the RSPCA. The only way to see change is to stand up and be counted.

Is there a future for zoos? Possibly, but only if we ensure that the animals’ needs come before ours.

Thank you, Bev Smith and RachelsRandomResources.

 

About the author

Bev Smith has been a secondary school teacher, saleswoman, waitress, wages clerk, youth worker and holiday park entertainments manager. She has scuba dived the Barrier Reef, lived in a village in Namibia, worked for a charity in Thailand, flown over Victoria Falls and paddled in the sea at Bournemouth.

Having single-parented her three daughters, she’s been ferociously playing catch up with this writing lark. She recently completed a Masters in Writing for Children at Winchester University. #galaxygirl is her debut middle-grade book.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/BevSmith612 https://www.facebook.com/bevbooks/

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