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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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This article has 65 comments. Post your own now!

AprilBlue said...
May 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

You totally pwned whoever it was that wrote that last artice. 

Cyberhighfive!

 
SassyJones said...
May 12, 2010 at 6:28 pm
great article. How do i apply to  get a job at a zoo? 
 
krazykathleen said...
May 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm
I completely agree with this! Great counter argument and well written article!!
 
X_Dysfuntional_Lyrics_X said...
Apr. 20, 2010 at 9:53 am
I love this article! You are right about the Cleveland Zoo. I love it and actually just filled out an application to work/volenteer there. I love our zoo and all the animals. I cant wait for the elephant exhibit to open up and for the elephants to come back. Our zoo does care about the animals. The signs we have at the Cleveland Zoo do not just have one line telling you about the animal. It shows a map of where the animal lives in the wild and gives a little paragraph about it. My one grandmothe... (more »)
 
Gradschoolgrl said...
Mar. 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm
You do a really nice job bringing in your own experience volunteering at a zoo so as to bring counter evidence to the article that appeared in the May 2008 issue of Teen Ink. I wonder if it might make your argument stronger if you acknowledged why some might hold this view. What should be done to eliminate inhumane zoos? How might that help humane zoos to flourish?
 
Holly M. said...
Mar. 5, 2010 at 5:37 am
Some zoo's are better than others. Let's face it. Some keep polar bears when they should be hunting in snow, some keep wolves even though they are pacing around their enclosure (completely bored!) and some should be shut down becasue the animals have such a bad life. But other zoo's are good. They treat their animals with love and consideration. They have bigger cages. They keep animals that could become extinct.
Zoo's are good and bad. The world has "good" ... (more »)
 
jakie replied...
Apr. 16, 2010 at 8:50 am
first of all zoos are all bad. you say that some zoos have bigger cages but still there in cages its nothing like there real enviroment.
 
Tenwyg replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I keep reading 'zoos are bad because they lock animals up'. Okay fine. But let me say something.

1) Most of the animals in zoos nowadays are in the zoo specifically for their protection. To save them from extinction, or if they are to injured to function properly in 'the wild'. The other animals are there because they were bred there. 

2) All you people who still insist that the only point of a zoo is to entertain people need to poen your eyes. And go to a zoo. The purpose ... (more »)

 
Bamm222 said...
Feb. 11, 2010 at 9:13 am
i dont agree maybe some zoos treat there animals nicely but if you think the had to be inhuman to get there and moving them and just keeping them in there habitat in the zoo so they are ALL INHUMAN!!
 
LoveOfWords replied...
Mar. 7, 2010 at 7:10 am
Living in a habitat that's not natural (by that I mean a zoo incloseure instead of the wild) doesn't mean that the animals are being treated inhumanely. So long as adequate space and the right kinds of conditions are provided, it's perfectly acceptable. Sometimes even better than in the wild. For example, sometimes dolphins will be hurt by boats or fishing nets or other animals. That doesn't happen in zoos, and they're an excellent tool for conservation.
Zoos can ... (more »)
 
AnneOnnimous replied...
Mar. 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm
i have to agree with you there, loveofwords. As long as the animals are being treated well, zoos are an excellent concept; they teach the public about animals that most would probably never see otherwise. And it's not like animals in the wild are better off than animals in zoos; zoo animals are guaranteed to get food, whereas animals in the wild must fend for themselves and deal with nature, plus the damage humans are causing ot the earth. Even maltreated zoo animals are probably better off than... (more »)
 
Stina said...
Dec. 31, 2009 at 5:34 am
I agree with you that not all zoos are inhumane and many of the poeple that work for them are simply trying to help animals. I think its great that they save and take care of injured animals... but, animals are simply not meant to live in cages their whole life, have their food "hunted" for them and live a life that goes against their natural instincts. It makes me angry when I am in a pet store and the staff say how they "love" animals so much... if you loved animals, why w... (more »)
 
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 31, 2009 at 9:50 pm
I don't mean to seem rude, and please forgive me if I do. But it would seem logical to believe that, considering the average memory span for a fish is three to five seconds, most tank-dwelling fish would not aspire to live elsewhere, and those that did would soon forget. Just a thought.
 
LoveOfWords replied...
Mar. 7, 2010 at 7:11 am
Actually, fish have longer memory spans than that, but I agree with your general point.
 
Kelz1141This 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...
Oct. 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm
This article was very well written and I do agree that not all zoos are inhumane. But this article also made me feel you didn't take the the article you read sierously and actualy consider the point they were trying to make. It sounded like you were to conserned with the fact that you disagreed to truely understand what point the other writer was trying to make.
 
This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 26, 2009 at 9:29 am
Great article. You represent the facts very well and I agree with you. Granted, there are some zoos that are inhumane, but in the ones I've been to, the animals all seem happy.
 
kittykat1234 said...
Feb. 15, 2009 at 9:25 pm
I really want to go see your zoo. It sounds amazing! Also, I agree with SloopyMcCoy. The Life of Pi has a really good part where it explains why zoos are good. It totally convinced me.
 
monkeywalrus said...
Jan. 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm
I think that both sides of this arguement have a point, but you both took your views out of proportion with your subjects. You guys were far too cheeky!!!
 
blahblahblah said...
Jan. 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm
I do not think your title fit your main point. You were writing mainly about how the magazine, "Modern Zoo" is wrong.
 
sallysunshine27 said...
Jan. 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm
i love life of pi!
 
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