Keeping Animals in Zoos Not Justifiable Argumentative Essay

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The topic of keeping wild animals in captivity, such as aquariums, zoos, and wildlife sanctuaries, is widely debated. Recent incidents, like the tragic event at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, where a whale pulled a trainer underwater resulting in their death, have prompted closer scrutiny of the well-being of captive wildlife and its detrimental effects on their physical and mental health. However, proponents contend that captivity can provide numerous advantages for both animals and humans.

There is a debate regarding the advantages of keeping wild animals in captivity, with some arguing that the benefits are limited or attainable through alternative methods. Nevertheless, upon closer examination of the arguments supporting the confinement of wild animals in settings such as zoos, it becomes clear that these perspectives can be dismissed in favor of more compassionate approaches towards these species. Thus, the justification for keeping animals in zoos is unfounded. One compelling factor behind the popularity of zoos and wildlife sanctuaries is their contribution to a thriving global tourism sector (Woods, 2002).

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Cities hesitate to shut down zoos due to concerns about revenue loss. They perceive zoos as providing a unique chance for individuals to observe animals firsthand, an opportunity they might not have otherwise. Additionally, zoo authorities assert that captive animals receive proper care and reside in habitats resembling their natural environments. However, constructing these simulated habitats is both costly and time-consuming for the zoo industry.

Animals are usually unable to reach vegetation because it contains harmful bacteria and can also lead to conflicts with other animals. Additionally, according to Woods (2012), the educational advantages provided by zoos are not significant. Furthermore, animals generally avoid human view when permitted in their zoo habitats.

In addition, zoo animals experience limitations in their ability to move freely and engage in social interactions. Another reason supporting the presence of zoos is their favorable positioning as scientific monitoring facilities. Zoos collaborate to gather and establish a repository of serum banks and establish systems for maintaining medical records (McNamara, 2007). This has proved highly advantageous in the identification and tracking of highly hazardous and contagious diseases.

The West Nile Virus was first found at a zoological institution, where wild crows in the United States were mysteriously dying. It was not until crows at a zoo also began dying that the problem was correctly identified. This virus is a danger to both animals and humans.

The United States General Accounting Office (GAO, 2000) revealed that zoological institutions played a crucial role in quickly identifying the virus. This emphasized the importance of collaboration between public and animal health agencies in investigating health issues for humans, domestic animals, wildlife, and animals in captivity. GAO further noted that the zoo community was not considered an essential part of the public health system, resulting in a delayed diagnosis of the West Nile Virus compared to what could have been possible if zoological institutes were under federal agency jurisdiction. The emergence of diseases such as SARS, monkeypox, and H5N1 avian influenza within the past decade has heightened the need for funding and developing bio surveillance capabilities. Zoos possess a unique ability to significantly contribute to bio surveillance due to their regular contributions to serum banks, tissue banks, and maintenance of medical record-keeping systems.

Zoos have a thorough understanding of individual animal needs on a daily basis, enabling zoo personnel to quickly detect and address illnesses. Additionally, zoos exchange information through shared data banks, which collectively provide valuable knowledge that can benefit both human and animal healthcare and disease prevention (McNamara, 2007). However, the lack of funding for bio surveillance results in significant disparities in the extent to which biological factors related to threats against humans, agricultural livestock, and wildlife can be studied. To address this issue, it has been suggested that public-health professionals collaborate with zoo professionals to establish electronic surveillance networks (McNamara, 2007).

The assertion that zoos can aid in bio surveillance is flawed due to the lack of collaboration between public-health officials and zoo agencies for this purpose. Instead, if funding is accessible for a partnership, it could be utilized to monitor animals for disease signs in their natural habitat. Moreover, animals in the wild, including those found in the ocean, are already tagged for research objectives. Although certain human-animal relationships can be mutually advantageous, as proven by the West Nile Virus case (Zamir, 2006), Bostock (1993) argues that keeping animals confined in zoos is cruel.

The author acknowledges that although most zoo animals are born in captivity, they cannot be regarded as wild. Despite recognizing that zoo animals generally have longer and healthier lives than their counterparts in the wild, the author contends that this is not a justification for their confinement. In the author’s perspective, animals do not inherently depend on humans for their survival; if left undisturbed in their natural habitats, they will thrive as nature intended.

One more critique of zoos involves the limited space provided for captive animals. Compared to their natural habitat, they are constrained from enjoying the same amount of space (Zamir, 2006). This concern has gained public awareness due to news stories about trainers, such as those who interacted with whales, meeting fatal incidents. The contention is that whales usually cover long distances daily in their native environment; however, human captivity significantly hampers their capability to engage in such activities.

The presence of zoos might lead individuals to engage in violent behavior. In conclusion, zoos serve no purpose. People can gain a greater understanding of wildlife by watching documentaries filmed in their natural habitats, rather than visiting a zoo. Additionally, wildlife activity can be monitored using surveillance equipment to collect and analyze data for different purposes.

Ultimately, it is morally wrong to confine a wild animal that should be living freely in its natural environment, denying it the opportunity to engage with nature and interact with fellow wildlife. It is imperative for society to reassess the role of zoos and similar institutions, considering options to either abolish or alter their current purpose and existence.

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