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Do Zoos Help or Harm Animals: Discursive Essay

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In the zoo, people can observe a variety of animals from all over the world. From aquatic animals to terrestrial animals, those vivid creatures are displayed in front of human beings. The origin of zoos can be dated back to ancient Egypt. Animals represented the power and wealth of an empire. The Romans usually captured animals, such as lions, elephants, and bears to battle criminals. According to Poultry, Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences (2014), “Collections of animals during ancient times could also be effective instruments of political statecrafts, with the exchange of particularly rare or valued specimens helping to forge alliances or ameliorate past offenses between feuding kingdoms.” That is to say, in Western Europe, rare species were favored by rulers because those animals could help sustain peace and power among kingdoms. Nowadays, zoos have several functions. The zoo helps conduct scientific research and experiments. On one hand, we are more familiar with the behavior of animals, on the other hand, animals are contributed to blood and drug test. In addition, zoos motivate public education. Through being close to these wild animals, people are able to learn how to preserve these extinct animals. Last but not least, the zoo provides a stable environment that prevents endangered animals from being intimidated by human and natural threats. Nevertheless, many controversies lie in the establishment of zoos. Due to captivity, animals’ behavior and instinct may change, which leads to both physical and mental damage.

Being transported from the natural environment to the zoos, the space is restricted and limits animals’ activities. Take animals for example, we know that elephants are bigger than any other animals. Once they are moved to the smaller enclosure, their instinct to migrate may be deprived. As a result, aggression may occur. Elephants are active animals, so it is important to make sure that they have plenty of time and place to conduct activities. As a matter of fact, we keep wild animals in captivity in order to deter them from facing predators. Nevertheless, their liberty of searching for food or building social orders may be interrupted by human beings. Humans confine these animals so that they can take care of them and increase their living qualities. However, according to The Captivity Industry, “Yet science shows that the stress and the trauma of capacity compromise the mental and physical health of individuals. The result is that countless efforts to re-introduce into (a mostly desecrated) wild have failed.” (Ref4-4) Even though humans try to imitate the original place for animals, there is nothing but a hard cage and a place full of noise. Furthermore, some animals should live in a group, but keepers separate them, making animals feel depressed and arise health problems. It shows that keepers are not familiar with their living habits. A lot of factors give rise to physical and mental problems, which undermine animals’ well-being. Despite the fact that laws can protect animals from living in an uncomfortable place, the truth is that there are many accidents and studies proving disadvantaged of confining these animals. (Ref4-4) Zoos, circuses, and marine mammal parks are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act and its regulation and are inspected for compliance on a regular basis. But regulations are general. And while there are penalties for violations. They are small and the agencies that perform such inspections are extremely understaffed relative to the number of institutions requiring examination.

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It seems that visiting zoos can not only receive entertainment but also educate children on the value of biodiversity and convey the importance of conservation. Witnessing these different kinds of animals in person may be better than reading the information in books. According to Zoos through the ages, “The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) clarified the importance of wild animal collections in educating the public and advancing our scientific knowledge. Also, during this time, zoos began cooperating with each other. Nonetheless, the study demonstrates that most people take a look at animals and walk away. Edward G. Ludwig (1981) observed zoo employees, children, and adults reflections when they approached animals. Based on People at the zoo (1981), “People will usually stop, at least momentarily, for 1) animals that beg, 2) animals that are feeding, 3) baby animals, 4) animals that make sounds, or 5) animals that are mimicking human behavior.” That is to say, they may ignore animals if they are sleeping, remaining silent, and taking a rest. In addition, Ludwig also observed guided schools of children. Indeed, docents put emphasis on the education of preservation and conservation, however, people gradually lost interest in listening to speakers, and children run away from one place to another. It shows that people are reluctant to pay attention to docents, and education in zoos is a big question. Therefore, we should think about the necessity of the zoo. If zoos can educate people, we should know what aspect of knowledge we convey to people. To show the behavior of animals, we can find a method that does not capture animals but observe them at the same time. To inspire compassion for endangered animals’ situation, displaying animals in zoos may be not the utmost way. Books, films, and other technology are beneficial to students in acquiring knowledge and cultivating a sense of sympathy for animals. Accordingly, the existence of a zoo is worth considering.

Amusement plays an important role in our life, and the zoo brings a lot of entertainment. However, based on Mortality’s progress, Dale Jamieson mentioned “most curators and administrators reject the idea that the primary purpose of zoos is to provide entertainment. Indeed, many agree that the pleasure we take in viewing wild animals is not in itself a good enough reason to keep them in captivity.” Out of curiosity, humans want to know more about animals and be entertained by animals. In recent years, scientists cost a large quantity of money. Financial problems are a significant issue. Once animals suffer health problems, zoo keepers have to choose whether to cure animals or send them to euthanasia. Many factors lead to Animals suffering pain, such as the incorrect humidity and heat. Some zoos make effort to mimic habitats for wild animals but come to failure. In addition, some zoos emphasize profit, not animals’ well-being. Despite the fact that many zoos denounce that they are contributed to animals’ health care and meet the standards of ethical and moral principles, the truth is that little effort is made behind the statement.

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