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Not All Zoos Are Inhumane This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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This piece is a response to “The Modern Zoo” from the May 2008 issue of Teen Ink. I volunteer at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and have gotten to know its keepers, veterinary staff, and other workers. According to the writer of “The Modern Zoo,” staff torture animals, do not provide adequate living space, and keep the animals merely to entertain. In my three years of volunteering, I have never seen, nor had any reason to suspect, any foul play at my zoo. The allegations in “The Modern Zoo” that all zoos are inhumane and cruel is false, I believe.

According to the article in Teen Ink, “Zoos claim to educate visitors. Yet we’ve all seen the one-sentence signs that describe monkeys. What can be learned from this? Certainly not enough to justify ­inhumane captivity.” One-sentence signs are not the end of zoos’ efforts to educate. At my zoo an entire department is devoted to educating the public about conservation of animals and our planet. If zoos didn’t care about education, why would they have this? While exhibits may display signs with brief information, staff work daily at the zoo to educate visitors about conservation and other critical topics.

Some zoo employees visit schools and businesses to educate the public about how to be more responsible with our environment. This department even organizes conservation projects around Ohio, such as the community effort to remove waste from Big Creek. Volunteers spent a day restoring the creek to a more healthy ecosystem. The zoo is also part of a ­national conservation campaign called Year of the Frog, dedicated to saving ­amphibian species from extinction. Zoos put forth tremendous effort to educate people, and to say that they do not is just not true in my experience.

“Zoo animals endure inadequate living conditions with no space,” claims the ­article. It’s not fair to make this generalization. My own zoo, for example, is planning a one-of-a-kind, spacious ­exhibit for its elephants. The exhibit ­encompasses many acres, and will be large enough to support a breeding population. If zoos didn’t care about adequate space for their animals, why would they waste time raising millions of dollars to build this type of exhibit? Also, my zoo cares a lot for its animals; it houses the second oldest hippo in North America and its polar bears are twice the age of those in the wild.

I witnessed a life-saving surgery on a 13-year-old wolf. Veterinarians worked for two hours to save his life. Thirteen is very old for a wolf. Zoos do care for their animals, and do what they can to keep them strong and healthy.

“These animals are simply meant to ­entertain,” claims “The Modern Zoo.” That too is false. At the Cleveland Metro­parks Zoo, animals are never forced to do anything for the sake of visitors’ entertainment. We believe in positive animal/ ­human interaction. Zoo staff never force or coerce an animal due to this policy.

The author of “The Modern Zoo” is ­obviously very passionate in his opinion about zoos. I am also very passionate. I have not written this to personally attack him. Rather, I am simply stating facts. “The Modern Zoo” paints zoos as cruel, inhumane facilities, but it is both unfair and untrue to claim this about all of them. Many have state-of-the-art veterinary ­facilities and work hard to save endangered species.

I hope that readers will see that zoos seek to protect and save endangered species, as well as educate and encourage the public to do the same.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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bookmouseThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 6:01 pm:
Your article is well written and is closer to what I know about zoos than "The Modern Zoo." It was a great example of the format of persuasive writing my classes are working on in history and English. There are zoos which need improvement, but it is nice to see that there are so many others setting a good example. :)
 
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BelievebelugaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 18 at 3:00 pm:
I just wanted to say I adored you article! I first joined TeenInk in a response to a blatantley "anti-captivity" article about cetaceans. While I respect the rights of people to be against the keeping of wildlife in human care, I draw the line at uneducated rants. Many of the articles I've read since joining however, have all shared common ground- "Zoos are evil". But I digress. Thank you so much for posting this educational, logical, informative and overall fabulous ar... (more »)
 
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hedwigy13 said...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm:
I loved this peice mostly for its message. I know a lot of people who claim zoos are inhumane. But, in truth, those "mistreated" animals are a lot better off in captivity. If you want inhumane, go check out some puppy mills or talk to some poachers.
 
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Nick5 said...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm:
Ok. Here is the problem with your writing, you list too much. You chose your topics and titles very well, but do away with listing. stacking your paragraphs so that you can't know one thing without the paragraph before it is key. also, work on different sentence lengths; I was close to yawning by the third paragraph.
 
TouchOfARose replied...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm :
I noticed that too, but this is more of an expository/pursuasive and listing can be quite helptful and simplifies things for the reader to make them easier to digest. You yawning by the third paragraph suggests the problem is with your mental aptitude, not a problem with her writing.
I'm sorry...I really sounded like such a b**ch there...and it WAS b**chy, but stuff that that just bothers me. :/
 
Nick5 replied...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm :
If it is expository/persuasive then stacked paragraphs even more important. Your job as an author is to knock me (the reader) out of my socks. Articles are not as long as fictional books, so you need to get to the point, and quick. Or else your reader may become bored. Does this clarify what I said earlier?
 
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ThePeaceDaisy said...
Oct. 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm:
I don't remember the author saying that ALL zoos are inhumane.
 
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WishfulDoerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 4, 2011 at 2:31 am:
I agree with you on most accounts. The Oregon Zoo, I believe, is not merely for the entertainment. They recently transformed a concrete, minuscule Orangutan exhibit into a magnificent habitat. I was in awe. However, I don't think captivity is always a good thing.
 
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Lilliterra said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm:

Why is everyone saying that it is inhumane to keep animals in captivity? Look at it from the animal's point of veiw. Not yours. You are looking in through the fence/glass. You're thinking as if it was you. Well, animals don't think the same way as you.

To the animals it's just their home. It's not "captivity". They don't even know what "the wild" is. And I doubt they're missing much. They have everything they need: food, water, safety, shelter, space, a much better chance of being heal... (more »)

 
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buffydog15 said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm:
I agree with SocialCollision!! They are inhumane.
 
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buffydog15 said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm:
Those are some good points and its good that the zookeepers take such great care of the animals, but that doesn't justify taking animals out of their natural habitat to a zoo where they cant learn to fend for themselves and where the habitat created is full of nonnative plants and is unfamiliar. No doubt the animals are scared when being moved as you might be if you moved many miles away from your home.
 
EthnicMutt replied...
Jun. 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm :
The animals at the zoos are not necessarily taken from the wild and then put in zoos.  Many of them are born in the zoos or donated from those who buy exotic pets and then realize they don't want them.  Zoos don't just send expeditions to go hunt down new animals.  
 
Tenwyg replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:42 am :

Exactly, and often times, zoos are saving the animal's they take in, either because they are endangered, they may be no longer able to survive in the wild because of an injury or because when some idiot decides they no longer want an animal they never should have gotten in the first place and give it to the zoo. Zoo's are a safe haven for many animals and, if they are a well run facility, they are always trying to educate people on how they can help more animals by protecting habitats (or som... (more »)

 
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MetallixRose said...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm:
I totally agree with this aritcle. At the zoo by us, it's a really nice place.
 
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Dart said...
Feb. 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm:

I completely agree with this article - thank you for writing it! I am also a zoo volunteer, and I can sympathize.


There are bad zoos. Cruel, inhumane ones. Usually, those are more along the lines of circuses.  I just don't understand how so many people can be blatantly anti-Zoo, when the people who do work at (good) zoos have spent so many years studying animals, know more about animals, and care more about animals than them. It's like saying an astronaut hates and knows not... (more »)

 
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BlackHoleHighAlumniThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm:

Plus have you ever seen animals in the zoo? most of them laze around or flirt with the tourists. They LOVE it! At Busch Gardens in Tampa, there is an Australian exhibit where the kangaroos and walabys are allowed to run wild and they love the attention they're given from the people.

And most animals in zoos (unless they're brought in due to injury) are bred in captivity, which means they don't know any different and it would be inhumane to release these animals into the wild because th... (more »)

 
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jessenielsen said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm:
I was raised in Kenya (east Africa) and have seen my fair share of zoos. the only point of a zoo is to profit and provide entertainment. if you disagree with this, you may ask "how did those animals end up thousands of miles away from there natural habitat?" Africa has its parks and has many orfinages for the young animals that are unable to survive on there own in the wild. there is no reason rather then for entertainment purposes to have zoos. How ever you may take this comment, the facts ... (more »)
 
boston418 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm :
Yes, animals were originally removed from Kenya and other parts of Africa and placed in American zoos for entertainment.  That's pretty much indisputable.  However, that was years ago.  The animals in zoos today are not first-generation zoo-dwellers.  While the motives behind starting zoos may not have had the best interests of the animals in mind, it's not fair to assume this same intent for modern day zookeepers.  I think that times have changed for zoos.  They ar... (more »)
 
jessenielsen replied...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm :
i will have to disagree... a zoo is still a zoo, you are sugesting that second generation animals do not have the instincts of first generation animals. an animal has certain characteristics that dont change over such short periods of time. your reasoning is flawed my friend, a zoos condition may improve but does not change the fact that they are still in captivity. if a zoos only intention was to help the animals they wouldnt make it so commercial. you dont see hundreds of people spending there... (more »)
 
OliverKent replied...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm :
If I may interject, jessenielsen and boston418, you are both very correct with your opinions. Animals in the wild are in their true element but I believe properly treated animals in captivity are in that exact same element. It is all in the cicumstance; a normal, hard-working and sincerely caring zoo's animals will be completely content. An animal in the wild must create a rather large niche for itself with a place for clean water, a place for food, a safe place to rest and raise offspring ... (more »)
 
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