Animal Captivity Essay

947 words - 4 pages

The United States of Americas first public animal viewing center, now referred to as zoos, opened on July 1, 1874 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For an entry fee of less than twenty-five cents, one could walk around and view the eight-hundred-and-thirty-one animals held in captivity at the time. Since the turn out of the Philadelphia Zoo was very popular and quite successful, an additional 217 AZA-accredited zoos have been opened to the public. The original purpose of the zoo was to encourage children and parents to indulge in learning more about wild animals in their own “natural” habitats, at the same time scientists could more easily study and research the wildlife.
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The animals are held solely for the purpose of study and entertainment to better ourselves, this goes against all of our own human rights. Animals held in captivity are deprived of their natural resources and lose natural characteristics. These animals begin to adapt to characteristics of domestic animals, their instincts begin to change and are no longer suited for the wildlife, along with any of their reproductions that will grow up with knowledge of only zoo life. These captive-beings become bored without natural events occurring, and begin to sway back and forth which is a sign of “zoochosis” (Carr). This is treated with a mood-altering drug given to the animals in their food. If animals are not living in true wild habitats, does this not defeat the purpose of the zoo itself? At some point, scientist and researchers can only study how animals survive in an encaged setting rather than in their true nature.
Even the scientific side of zoos has major flaws leaving one of the major supports for zoos unstable. Out of the 217 AZA-accredited zoos, very few still have any full-time scientists hired for their research portions. Many scientists now conduct their research in the wild rather than in encaged facilities. Scientist can now get more accurate and unaltered data through true wildlife ventures. Along with the separation of studies, the majority of breeding programs have established their own facilities apart from the zoos. Many pro-zoo activists argue the importance of continuing to preserve endangered animals, which is of course, a valid way to ensure the safety of these endangered species’. Amy Whiting notes in her article “What’s wrong with Zoos”, that “Of the 5,926 species classified as threatened or endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, only 120 are...

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