Last night I was reading an essay by the New England naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921), which expertly articulated my position on animal confinement. While describing a wonderful array of creatures playing and foraging outside his hermitage, Burroughs makes a profound insight about natural beauty.
Among the song sparrows and white-throats that gathered for their daily lunch under my window, I noted differences between male and female and between old and young, yet each individual seemed at the top of its condition. How free from spot or blemish they were, not one disheveled or unkempt, not one vagabond or unfortunate among them. How neatly groomed they were, every feather perfect and every feather in its place. How bright and distinct the pencilings of the song sparrow's backs! The surplices of the white-throats had just come from the laundry. Among all the wild creatures it is the same. Nature deals evenly and impartially with them. They differ markedly in this respect from birds and mammals under domestication. A brood of newly hatched chickens are fresh and clean enough, but they very soon deteriorate in appearance; but a brood of young grouse or quail keep as clean and bright as shells upon the beach. Then consider the chipmunks and red squirrels- how rarely is on of them below the standard of its kind! how rarely one shows any indication of hard luck, or a loss of standing among his fellows! None are poor; all are equally prosperous. Success is written on every one of them. Rarely is a single hair out of place. (From the essay, Old Friends in New Places.)
Do you notice animals in nature being more clean, physically fit and healthy than ones that that have been domesticated?