Should Zoo Be Banned?
Ban Zoo Background By definition, is a facility in which animals are kept and displayed to the public. It is a short form of Menagerie, zoological park and garden. The word zoological refers to zoology which means study of animals. An Egyptian queen called Queen decided to build a zoo about 1500BC and about five hundred years later a Chinese Emperor named Wen Wang founded the Garden of Intelligence. The Garden of Intelligence was an enormous zoo which was full of different kind of animals and lots of ancient statues.
During that time many small zoos were established to show power and wealth by rulers from Northern Africa, India, and China. Other well-known collectors of animals were King Solomon of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah, and King Nebuchadnezzar from Babylonia. The Roman emperors used to keep private collections of animals or private zoos for study purposes or for use in an arena. The ancient Greeks established public zoos to study animal and plant life. That time Greek students used to visit zoos as part of their education.
In the beginning Europeans did not have the interest to visit the zoos but when explorers bought strange creatures back with them, it strangely renewed the interest of Europeans in animals and zoos. In the modern era the oldest existing zoo was the Vienna Zoo in Austria. Tierpark Hagenbeck is known as the first zoo to use open enclosures surrounded by moats rather than barred cages. The purpose was to keep the animals in touch with nature. My uncle was a zookeeper for over eight years. A lot of times wild animals get injured and If proper care is not given they might have to live a disabled life.
For instance, owls have very fragile bones in their wings. If it breaks it creates permanent disorder in its flight. For a flightless owl in the wild life it will be difficult to defend itself easily; it might not survive. “They pay the price of their beauty, poor beasts. Mankind wants to catch anything beautiful and shut it up, and then come in thousands to watch it die by inches’’ (qtd. in Best 4). There are some people who take a baby animal from the jungle to keep it as a pet. Once the animal grew up it does not look cute anymore, and may become uncontrollable.
Therefore, the person takes it to a zoo to live out the rest of its life. Thus, they start to lose some of their natural abilities because zoo do not provide natural environment for wild animals. It may be difficult for an animal to adjust to a different environment if necessary steps are not taken. INTRO Animals are being kept in the zoos has provided people such as children or city dwellers to experience the great biodiversity of the Earth and understand how they behave. These realistic images of the wildlife are nothing like what we could see in discovery channels or books making the zoo a great source of education.
It is also true that zoo not only just exposes different creatures to us, but also informs the visitors on each species of animals such as their scientific names, their specialties, what food they eat and their behaviours. Moreover, zoos nowadays are involved in conservation programs of animals that are in the risk of extinction and thus at the same time making visitors aware of them. However, people these days are more interested in the entertainment because many would come to the zoo for picnics (Kazarov 8).
Whenever I visit a zoo I see children who are more interested in observing the creatures up closely, ignoring the information board provided for that animal. As for the parents, they are more concerned about taking photos of their children next to the pitiful animal. Even if there really are people visiting to seek the knowledge, do you think that the benefits we gain are worth the suffering of thousands of animals of hundreds or species? Furthermore, in the zoos, we cannot learn as much as a hunter do because we do not see what the animals do naturally, but the unfortunate things done to them. Do we really need zoos?
There are many articles, for instance, ‘’Zoos and the end of nature’’ written about how animals suffer inside the zoo. These reasons all the more convinced us that animals should not be kept in zoo, for it is a miserable place that restricts the animal right, mistreat them, and use the excuse of maintaining the endangered organisms to keep their business running. Animals in the zoo should have the every right to be able to do what they want and to be free, but the zoos just have to ruin it. One issue that is common in animal rights discourse involves the use of animals in circuses and animal shows where the animals are forced to do such acts.
For those who belong to the animal rights movement, and for all people who have a genuine concern for all animals, it is not good for humans to use animals in entertainment shows because such act is equivalent to exploitation. Respect and compassion should not be limited to human beings alone. Animals, like humans, have their own natural tendencies. They have their own natural environment where they were originally meant to live and thrive. Respecting the rights of animals includes leaving them in their natural environment where they can grow and enjoy being the animals that they are.
For example, certain marine animals require an environment that is composed of salt water and a vast space for them to grow. However, the issue to be considered of is that if zoos want to create a perfect habitat environment for animals it would be costly, and thus many zoos in the world do not do so. And when the zoos do not meet the required standard, what would the animals in the zoos become? In some zoos, especially in my country, the cages are too small that it’s more of a cell rather than a place to stay.
While visitors laughed and have fun looking at these animals and walking around the zoo, the animals remained bounded inside a cage, like accused criminals. In some zoos, the condition is worse. The cages might be spacious, the environment close to natural, but how do you think they are fed? Two bananas a day for a monkey; three maybe. Sometimes the zoo seems like a village that recently suffered a drought and the animals inside may be comparable to the refugees from a barren desert. In fact, animals suffered not only physical damage, but also mental problems.
According to a report captive animals normally develop stereotypies. For example, we usually see elephants weaving their trunk and head left and right and polar bears pacing incessantly. This could mean that they are frustrated or thwarted due to the poor conditions (Clubb et al 222-223 ). Animals also have emotion, they can be sad, they can be happy, they can be distressed. If humans have even a single shred of sympathy inside them, they should treat the animals with more care, and realise animals need as much happiness as people. Further misdoing of the zoo is the ill-treatment towards animals.
It is not uncommon for humans to treat animals very badly; in roman times, the actions go as far as using them in death matches. However, zoos, which are more than just a collection of animals, have gone more than acceptable in the way they take care of the animals. For example, in Islamabad Pakistan, a female elephant was reported to be poisoned. My friend who was present during the investigation found out that the elephant was overdosed by tranquilizers, as anti-anxiety agent. Further investigations show that the death of the animal could have been avoided if not for the irresponsible actions of the care takers.
It seemed that a quarrel broke out between the care takers over the money they gained from the visitors when the visitors rode the elephant and took pictures. It is very horrible to find out that one of the zoo keepers would kill an innocent creature to set the blame onto the other keeper. Even then, the case was closed with nobody charged, as the government confided the dead elephant’s mate until the true culprit was found, which was never. There was also another case; a video report showing a zoo in Oklahoma, G. W Exotic, which had a collection of 1400 animals, of which 200 are big cats.
In the video, many of the big cats were treated cruelly; tigers were hit on the nose and sometimes even whipped by the care takers, and using them for shows and performances were not a rare occasion. Some big cats were also used to attract viewers by releasing them to the general public and it has been going on for quite long. According to the specialists, a cub is only allowed to interact with human from two to four weeks. There, they have cub 21 weeks old that are released and brought dangerously close to visitors even when these cubs are carnivores and are known to be ferocious.
When this mindless creatures tries to show even a slight aggression they are punished severely even though the zoo made these misjudgements of bringing them to visitors at this age. A cub was brutally whipped when it accidentally harmed a child. And after all these cruel things reached the media, the authorities came to close down the school, and the insane owner irresponsibly released all the animals from their cage. It is not just one case, not just two. This is happening all over the world. And while only few cases are being uncovered and prosecuted by the authorities, many more animals are suffering their fate in silence.
In order to make up for the criticisms due to the reasons above, zoos nowadays may claim that they help animals and at the same time revive them. For example, zoos now have captive breeding programs to increase the number of the threatened animals, as the animals are being monitored and taken care by animal experts. In this way, those animals can be defended from their problem that they would have faced in their natural surroundings. Animals that are usually the prey would be safe from being hunted by their predators whereas predator animals such as lions would not have died due to starvation.
This is because zoos keep the same kind together while providing them food. These are at least the arguments that zoos can announce and they also claim that they will be able to release the captive creatures back to the wild. However, is there evidence that the majority of the zoos will be able to perform such task? The answer is no. According to an article more than 95% of the world zoo industries do not take part in official captive propagation and reintroduction initiatives (Laidlaw 4). What is the point of raising the animals where there is no certainty of releasing of them?
Suppose there are a small number of zoos that actually reintroduce their animals back to the wild, will it be successful? The animals that they have been raising will have lost their animals instincts as a result of being kept in a place without the interaction between animals of different species, being confined in a small place causing lack of exercise and being given food instead of the animals working for themselves. In addition, there will be animals that are born in the zoo in which they never have the jungle experience.
Take tiger for example, for them to survive, they must know other animals’ behaviour in order to hunt and they must have strong legs. But how can they perform that when they have not been in contact with other creatures and how can they jump and run quickly without the having to hunt before? It will be just like my house’s pet dog which does not know how to cross the road. Let’s just pretend that the zoos have managed to teach them, but there are still further issues and that is the number of red list species that zoos are actually conserving.
According to a report it was found that the CCZ, 13 zoos in the UK, known as the Consortium of Charitable Zoos, only keep 3. 5% of the animal species that are in the threat of extinction, and the majority them are the least concerned species. Only 24. 7 to 29 % of the zoos’ animals are in the red list zone (“Animal” 3). This in a sense mean that, zoos are not capable of doing conservation of , plus it also means that there are still many other creatures kept in the zoo that are not threatened. An eagle should be seen soaring through the sky spectacularly, a lion roaming he jungle fiercely; it is such a sad event to see them restricted in the zoo. What we see in the zoo are not really the animals that we see, but rather a figure that resembles the images of the creatures of what we learn in the school. What I would define a zoo, is a large prison that holds tons of innocent animals as prisoners in order to make money. As humans cannot live with animals in the jungle, same happens with animals. Animals are part of nature and increase the beauty they are not made to keep in zoos and earn money.
Did we also ever realize that we are actually paying money to the zoos to see such prisoners for our entertainment or education purposes? Indeed, a zoo is a business centre; all they do is to make profit such as from animal circuses, animals trading. Moreover, they would try to cut down the cost of building a healthy natural habitat, at least not for every species, and they would feed animals with a limited amount of food where the food might not be of proper nutrition. To make matter worse, poorer countries do not have good facilities or the budget, even for a certain individual species.
Even for conservation of endangered species, they do not invest their own money, but accept donation from people and wildlife companies. In zoos like that we will normally see a donation box presented next to the threatened species. If they are really providing help for the protection of wildlife, why not use their own fund. Finally, with strong voice, we can say that Zoos should be ban in human societies because it’s nothing but a giving pain to the animals in many ways. Work Cited “Animal Ark or Sinking Ship? ”. Born Free Foundation. July 2007. Web. http://www. bornfree. org. uk/fileadmin/user_upload/files/zoo_check/animal_ark. df. Nov 24 2012. Clubb, Ros. Mason, Georgia. A Review of the Welfare of Zoo Elephants in Europe. University of Oxford. 2003. Print. Dr. Best, Steven. “Zoo and the End of Nature”. University of Texas. 1999. Web. http://www. zoocheck. com/articlepdfs/Zoos%20and%20the%20End%20of%20Nature. pdf. Nov 22 2012. Kazarov, Elena. “The Role of Zoo in creating a Conservation Ethic in Visitors”. Australia, Sydney Washington University in St. Louis. 2008. Web. http://digitalcollections. sit. edu/cgi/viewcontent. cgi? article=1579&context=isp_collection. Nov 24 2012. Laidlaw, Rob. “Reintroduction of