Zoos are a good thing, right? The experience of being up close and personal with a variety of beautiful animals that you would never get to see otherwise. Zoos are a win for people. But what about the animals? Do they do more harm than good? Well, for quite a few reasons this is most definitely true. Zoos are bad for animals because they imprison them instead of letting them roam free in the wild, they can lead to dangerous situations for both the animals and humans and they doom animals from even the start of their lives if raised behind bars.
Animals deserve to roam free in the wild, to have the ability to go anywhere they want. The wild is an incredible, never-ending space for animals to live their lives, free of any bars or fences to limit them from exploring the earth. Zoos of course prohibit this beautiful concept and confine the animal or group of animals into a small shelter or environment, usually an acre or two in size per animal. Sometimes these enclosures can be the size of a room, which is just awful, considering what they would have if they weren’t living here. The federal Animal Welfare Act establishes only the most minimal standards for enclosure size, among other vital requirements such as shelter conditions, health care, ventilation, food, and more. The act states that “enclosures must provide sufficient space to allow each animal to make normal postural and social adjustments with adequate freedom of movement.” This is simply not enough and is an insufficient space for a living creature to live. Could you imagine not being able to ever leave your house, while you can still gaze out your window at everyone else in the world? That’s why I think these zoos are bad.
This small confined area, along with the conditions of a typical zoo affects the animals on a large scale, driving them to either death, causing death, or suffering until death. The amount of conflict that has happened in numerous zoos worldwide is staggering. And if it’s not caused by the substandard conditions, it’s by human interference that would otherwise not exist if not in a zoo. In 2005, two polar bears died during their first five weeks being at their zoo, as one swallowed and ingested an object that was thrown into the enclosure by a visitor, while the other died as a result of an infection caused by two dead fetuses that had been left inside her uterus. Tatiana, a Siberian tiger held within the San Francisco Zoo, escaped her enclosure and was shot dead after she killed one person and injured two others. Even a year before, she had mauled a zookeeper. And of course, it’s obvious that if the animal is not dead, it is suffering from these poor conditions and has no chance to escape them unless something is done. If they were in their natural habitat, none of these things would ever happen. No lives, human and animal, would be in danger, either eternally or spontaneously.
Lastly, animals that are raised within a zoo cannot even go back into the wild if they could, as they would die shortly after. Most large carnivores such as lions and tigers that are bred in captivity die when released into the wild, as they haven’t developed the natural behaviors they need when they’re out on their own and have to fend for themselves. The ability to properly hunt is absent among other things, which is arguably the most important. Two lynxes that were released from captivity into the wild were found dead from starvation even though the area was full of hares, the lynx’s natural prey. Animals deserve to have these skills that are necessary to survive in their natural habitat, and to take that away from them and give them no chance of surviving in the wild, even if they were ever given the chance, is horrible and inhumane. They never even had a chance from the start, and all because they want to be used as mere attractions and nothing else. Displays.
In conclusion, I strongly feel that zoos are bad and should be discontinued. They deserve so much more than to be kept inside an enclosure for people to gawk at and need to be out in the open where they belong and can thrive. They don’t deserve to be imprisoned or cursed, and the conflict that rises from the zoos wouldn’t happen if they simply didn’t exist. Animals are living creatures, not attractions, and they shouldn’t be reduced to such a worthless state so easily. Do we, as humans, have a right to make animals depressed and ill, purely for our entertainment?