Zoos Are Inhumane (Response to "Not All Zoos Are Inhumane")

March 10, 2010
By Anonymous

Zoos are Humane
To the Editor:
Re: “Not All Zoos Are Inhumane,” by Maribeth F. (Op-Ed, March 8th)

The author of this editorial claims that zoos are humane. I believe otherwise. Zoos are a form of entertainment for the public. It is also a way for people to make money off of the animals.

The author says that zoos put a lot of effort into educating people in conservation. This is true, to some extent. Zoo staff tries to teach kids or adults to help, but how many people really do go out of their way to save the environment? If they do, then congratulations to them. The vast majority of kids I’ve seen do not, but some may become more environmental, and I understand your argument.

“A one-of-a-kind spacious environment for their elephants that contains many acres of free space.” Though this may be true, let’s consider how many acres of land elephants in the wild need to survive. Not just “many acres large enough to support a breeding population,” but hundreds upon hundreds of acres. The cost into creating such a large habitat will no doubt, cost hundreds if not millions of dollars. When it all adds up, this money can be taken to wildlife organizations dedicated to saving endangered species. So what are their real intentions of building this exhibit? To offer the elephants a larger space incomparable to the wild with huge expanses, or to provide themselves with a profit and to make everyone believe the zoo is actually doing something good, when they’re not?

Animals at zoos get sick, and what would it be if the news that an animal died without treatment, got out in the newspaper? That would immediately stop the flow of visitors and zoos lose their profit. They heal the animals so they do not lose their status or their customers. However thirteen is very old for a wolf. I am thankful that the zoo keeps their animals healthy, but the fact still remains. The wolf only lives that long because it lives in an artificial environment, controlled and monitored daily by humans. The animal does not know any necessary skills to live in the wild, their foods are brought to them already dead, there is no meaning to their life but to grow and entertain us.

“At the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, animals are never forced to do anything for the sake of visitor’s entertainment.” No zoos in the world ever force animals to do anything for the sake of entertainment. The animals just being there is entertainment, live feeding shows, tricks with the animals, are all sources of entertainment. The zoos are using the animals to attract visitors, and to make them want to come back, though in indirect ways.

The editorial claims that zoos are here to help and protect endangered species. Then why keep all the non-endangered species? Why do they not just train and release them into the wild, where they belong? Because they need those animals to make money. For example, the condor, an endangered raptor, is being bred specially in zoos, then released to the wild. But what is the point, if fifty condors are released and eventually die off anyway, when their habitats are again invaded by humans? So what is the real solution to saving endangered species? Build up parks and protected areas, where humans are not allowed, not stuff a beautiful Bengal tiger in a cage. Many animals are still being taken from the wild, especially the young ones, which make for a good profit for zoos.

Many would ask, “How would you feel, if you were locked in a cage your whole life?” I have heard a great argument to this. The person stated that “The difference is we are sentient beings.” Sure, a fish with a three second memory span doesn’t know any different, but what about the intelligent animals? Dolphins, killer whales, apes, would they know any different? Dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals in the world, along with whales and apes, the closest relative to a human. So how do people know that these animals have no idea as to what is going on around them? The answer, they don’t. People make themselves believe, they convince themselves, and then after a while, one’s opinion becomes a fact.

I can understand if zoos keep endangered animals in captivity, to breed them and release them into the wild. On the other hand, they also need to be working to protect the animal’s environment, so years of hard work are not lost in months. But the other animals, the ones that should be in the wild, should stay in the wild. It will take years upon years to train them so they can survive, but I strongly believe that it will be worth it.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Oct. 16 2010 at 9:53 am
Honestly, I completely disagree. How many types of wild animals would be extinct without zoos and places like them keeping them alive. Animals live almost twice as long in captivity. And plus, do you ever watch the primates with their handlers? There's a pure love there that can't be taught. Zoos are perfectly humane. Go to a zoo sometime and watch the animals closely. See how many of them will come up and flirt with the people and show off to get attention. Animals are just like people. They love attention. No one abuses these animals. They are treated with respect and love. Maybe you should try visiting a zoo sometime. You'll see things in a different light.


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