Are Zoos Morally Justifiable?

Almost every child is excited to go to the zoo.

The exotic animals and the excitement of seeing creatures alien to them is amazing and captivating.

Everyone who visits a zoo is enamored with the animals foreign to their part of the world and enjoys seeing them in a “natural” habitat from the safety of behind a fence.

However, while looking at the lions, tigers, seals and elephants moseying around, does it ever cross their minds that it is not right?

How is keeping animals in a cage morally justifiable?

That is not where they belong, and who are we to decide that this should be their fate?

They should be in the wild, living in their actual habitats amongst others of their kind instead of in captivity in simulated nature.

There is no doubting the facts. Animals living in captivity live shorter lives than those out in the wild.

For example, African elephants in the wild live a median of 56 years whereas elephants born in captivity live only a median of 17, as according to National Geographic News.

While it can be argued that wildlife reserves and rescue facilities hold animals in captivity, they are meant to rehabilitate them and return them to the wild.

Junior Dolan Drury said, “If we do have ‘zoos’ they should be animal sanctuaries that people can visit and the only animals that are there are because of disabilities or they can’t survive in the wild for whatever reason or they are endangered. It should have tons of space, almost as if they aren’t enclosed.”

Breeding animals in captivity for simply entertaining humans is morally wrong.

Their lives would be so much better out in the wild where they belong.

Dimond junior, Kenzie Lindemann, said, “The premise of zoos sounds awesome, but the harsh fact is that it forces free roaming animals that could walk miles to just sit in a small enclosed cage for human enjoyment. These animals are not pets. They are wild animals. If you want to see a wild lion, fly to Africa and go on a safari.”

This sentiment is one that is growing amongst millennials, especially with with rising popularity of the documentary “Blackfish” criticising Seaworld and its use of captive animals.

Myah Precie, a Dimond junior, said that zoos, “force wild animals to live in an area a fraction of the size they are meant to and they are lonely without others of their kind.”

Denali Bunker, a junior, said, “Zoos are purely for human entertainment which I think is so wrong. There are the few that have rescued animals that they care for, but for the most part zoos stink-literally and figuratively.”

This protest and boycott of zoos and aquariums is starting to become a movement amongst not only animal activists and environmentalists, but also general citizens who are now refusing to support or patronize such institutions.

The Ringling Brothers, the famous circus act, known for its display of animals doing various routines, has recently shut down due to such boycotts.

The circus was in business for over 100 years, but went bankrupt because it was not making enough ticket sales, a consequence of removing the elephants from their traveling shows.

Activists had been fighting to get animals removed from the acts and eventually succeeded, a testament to the growing protests.

As time moves forward, there may start to be a decline in the number of animal shows and zoos across the United States as people begin to stand up for those that have no voice.