Zoos: A Fun Pastime or an Animal Prison?

Zoos: A Fun Pastime or an Animal Prison?

Sure, zoos are fun. You can take the whole family: the wife and kids, Bobby and Sally to have a grand old time looking at wild creatures that came to you from some foreign place. Maybe have a picnic and get some ice cream as you gawk at these animals that traveled seas just for your enjoyment. A lovely American pastime since what seems to be from the beginning of time isn’t as cheery as it seems.

Over the weekend I watched a documentary on Netflix called Blackfish. It sheds light on how killer whales at Seaworld are treated. Their trainers, who see the animals as companions, don’t even know the severity of how the whales are being treated when they aren’t there. Orcas are like humans in that their lifespan is around 100 years old, give or take a few years. The average lifespan of an Orca at Seaworld is 13 years old according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They aren’t the only animals that are treated badly, though. The whole concept of a zoo is totally unethical.

A big problem is space. These animals like humans need to get their exercise. They need to run, climb, and hunt and enjoy their natural habitats. Of course, zoos claim that their animals are in a space much like the one they once lived in. But that’s the thing, sure it looks like African savannah, but it isn’t. For example, according to NatGeoKids, lions usually live in groups of 10 to 25. This is never seen in zoos. The most I’ve seen together is two or three. And when lions are in zoos, they get 18,000 times less space than they would in the wild according to Freedom for Animals. The killer whales mentioned earlier get even less. In the wild they swim at least 100 miles a day. Seaworld has the largest tank of 170 feet. These animals are cramped and it can cause many mental disorders.

Animals in captivity are under a lot of distress. Due to lack of space, not actually being in their habitat, or not really being around their species, animals are showing signs of mental instability. Elephants swaying side to side and tigers pacing back and forth are not found in the wild as some may think. These symptoms are brought on by captivity according to Freedom for Animals. Since there isn’t much space to keep their bodies and brains active, captivity makes animals go crazy.

A lot of people’s favorite part about going to the zoo is seeing the tiny baby animals. But what are the sacrifices being made for these cute babies? Zoos over breed so that are always babies on display. When there are babies, that means more people want to come meaning more money for the zoo. Since there already isn’t much space for the animals, when over breeding happens (and it happens regularly), where are they going to put all the animals? The answer to this one is very grim and no one wants to hear it. They kill the extra babies they don’t have room for or the sterile animals that can’t produce anymore. Just because they don’t have a purpose to the zoo doesn’t mean these innocent creatures deserve to die.

I would like to say that I won’t ever attend another zoo, but that may not be realistic. I don’t agree with zoos as the whole concept of them is completely unethical. I don’t support them and if anything they should give the animals what they need: freedom. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable living in a 170 foot space, so why should these animals be forced to?

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