Keeping Animals in Zoos is Cruel?
How would you feel if you had bars surrounding you, faces peering in every minute of the day, and being taken out of your natural habitat? Having animals in a zoo is simply cruel to the animal. Most people get entertained by watching animals in zoos and knowing more about their behaviors. However, others believe that it is not right to keep animals trapped in zoos because that is not where they belong.
One argument in favor of keeping animals in zoos is that zoos can conserve endangered species. A zoo is a secure place for endangered species to live. Therefore, they can be guarded from predators and hunters. For example, one of the most endangered species on this planet Javan Rhinoceros are being protected in high qualified zoos to save them from annihilation.
Another advantage is that keeping animals in zoos can educate the public. The public can know more about animal behavior by understanding the ways animals react and move. Furthermore, they can receive knowledge about animal features by easily observing them. For example, some zoos also have briefing sections where there is almost like a poster board about the animal being shown and gives the public a little bit of background about the animal.
Some people believe that animals in zoos are very well bred. Zoos provide medical treatments, nutritional food and clean water to animals. As a result, animals do not have to hunt for their own food as they do in the wild. Besides, animals have a suitable environment to live in. For instance, animals like dolphins and sharks can have clean fresh water to live in as well.
The most important disadvantage of keeping animals in zoos is that animals cannot stand being held in compact areas. It is like keeping animals in prison and now allowing them to be where they can actually belong. For this reason, animals have a chance of undergoing stress, frustration, and boredom, which can cause to react in very unusual ways, such as making loud noises, running around or even hitting the metal cage bars almost making them to go crazy.
Another disadvantage is that the animals will lack mental stimulation and survival skills. Animals in zoos rely on humans for food and other resources almost like a dog or cat. They do not have to hunt for food on their own and protect themselves from dangers as they do in the wild. This can seriously danger the animals released into the wild, since they barely have any survival skills they cannot defend themselves if they were under attack.
Another point against this issue is that visitors will not be able to see the true beauty or behavior of the animals in zoos. The small compact cages avoid animals from moving freely from place to place, causing them to behave in an unnatural way as they would in the wild. Furthermore, since animals are given food by the people in charge in zoos, we will not be able to see how they react when hunting for prey. For example, birds in cages or pens are not able to fly as they would in open air, limiting us from knowing about their flying styles or gestures.
It is simply inhumane to be keeping these animals in zoos, there are more unique ways for humans to be able to connect with the animals other than zoos. It is truly sad how so many people are blind to how these animals have to live and how ill-treated they are.
It has been proven several times that elephants born and raised in zoos live less than half as long as those living in their natural habitats. Ros Clubb, a wildlife scientific officer, studied the lifespan of elephants kept in captive and elephants from 1960 to 2005. Elephants travel with 30-40 other elephants, but in the zoo elephants are lucky if they have more than two other elephants walking with them. Asian elephants born in captivity lived less than half as long as those not kept captive. African elephants in zoos lived less than three times as long as those in the wild.
Removing animals from their habitat causes them to have serious health issues. Suffering from health problems leads to younger death. Animals do not know how to cope with living where they absolutely do not belong. This causes stress, boredom, depression, and anxiety. In 1922, Bill Travers came up with the term “”zoochosis”” to categorize these problems. There are many signs of unhealthy animals due to being kept captive such as, pacing, biting on bars, rocking and swaying, aggressive behavior, vomiting, and so many more. Animals are physically and mentally healthier where they belong, in the wild. Taking away the animals freedom from being able to run, climb, and hunt is causing obesity. These wild animals are meant to eat natural foods, not the artificial foods they are fed at the zoo. It is disappointing how early these behaviors were recognized yet animals are still being removed from their habitat and unnaturally breed, for entertainment and money purposes.
If people are so concerned about seeing wild animals in real life, there are other ways to do this. People can get educated and view wildlife in a sanctuary. Sanctuaries maintain each animal until their natural death. Real wildlife sanctuaries respect the feelings for each individual providing a healthy, safe, and unique environment. They do not buy, sell, breed, or slaughter animals but they take unwanted exotic pets, injured wildlife that would no longer survive in the wild and surplus animals for zoos.
Some zookeepers and animal advocates have the perspective that animals should be placed in zoos. They claim that zoos are places that help protect and reproduce endangered species. However, this is not true. When zoos try to bring new animals to exhibits, the process involves a ton of funding. Also taking the animals from their wild habitat destroys their native home. These funds that are being put into creating a “”fake”” natural habitat for these animals in zoos should be put to making their natural wild life habitat that they have lived in their whole life better instead of taking them away from what they have always been used to.
One of the most famous stories that America knows of that the pieces are still not fully put together of why this animal died is Shamu. Shamu being the first ever orca show at SeaWorld in 1965. What SeaWorld never disclosed to the public was that Shamu was kidnapped from her mother, and during her capture her mother was shot with a harpoon and killed right in front of her. Not only is this the first horrible thing to happen at SeaWorld that was never disclosed, but in 1978 SeaWorld captured two sharks from the ocean and put them in an enclosed cage. Within three days, these sharks were running into the walls so much that they sunk to the bottom and died. All we ever hear about in the public news is the good things to happen at these large public places but we never hear about the negative effects of trapping these animals in cages they can barely even move in. Some may think that SeaWorld is a great show for the community and young ones but are not thinking about the long term effects of these animals causing that species to possibly go extinct.
Animals are pushed around, bullied, by the so-called “”caring”” workers. Zoo management states that they are keeping their animal’s safe, but when chains and bullhooks are used for training and punishment, aching cries can be heard from these helpless animals. When giving
tours to their consumers, tour guides only talk about how the animals act out in wild. The main reason customers come out to the zoo is to see the animals. Disabled animals aren’t pleasant to see, hence their kept away from the crowd, given worse treatment and neglected more often. The truth is that workers don’t truly care about the animals they care about themselves.
So what can we do to help? Many countries around the world have no laws when it comes to protecting captive animals. In the US, surprisingly the US Department of Agriculture is supposed to enforce the Federal Animal Welfare Act. Although this is going to be put into place, anyone that fills out an application and sends in a fee will be able to keep animals captive aka zoos will most likely be taking charge right away. If we can start to tell our family members and peers that us buying tickets to the zoo Is only contributing to more and more animals being held captive, if we can get a stop to people buying zoo tickets that will limit the contributions to local zoos.
After taking everything into account, there are a number of advantages for this issue, such as animal conservation, public education and breeding programs. However, there are still some drawbacks, like limited spaces for animals, shortage of survival skills and animal behavior cannot be truly observed. Although, some people believe that keeping animals in zoos is can be an advantage for animals, my disadvantages outweigh my advantage’s and I disagree that animals should be kept in zoos.