Should Wild Animals Be Kept In Captivity?

1143 words - 5 pages

On February 24, 2010, Trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by a captive killer whale which dragged her into its tank (McCarthy). This is not the only case where a trainer of ordinary person has been put in harm’s way because what is supposed to be a wild animal is being held in captivity. Wild animals should not be kept in captivity because it can lead to mental illness and abnormal behavior.
Capturing wild animals for entertainment is not a new practice; it has been going on for years. In fact, “136 killer whales were captured in the wild and held in captivity since the first on in 1961” (McCarthy). This number, 136, only represents killer whales; there are plenty of other species being captured. To imagine the magnitude of captured animals just multiply 136 by 6,000, the number of species currently in captivity. Additionally, since the 1970s, twenty-four people have been attacked by a whale in captivity (McCarthy). Therefore, not only is there a history of animal captivity, but since 1961 when the first whale was captured, there has also been a history of whale attacks. Similarly, “in 25 year period at the Houston Zoo, 14 out of 14 elephant calves have died [due to artificial breeding]” (O’Connor). For twenty-five years, the zoo has continually put the elephants through a treatment that has only failed; therefore, putting the animal at risk. However, amidst the amplifying number of whale attacks, the “justification of aquariums has grown weaker and weaker” (“The Great Whale”). Aquariums are being held more accountable for their actions, so that we can prevent tragedies. The captivity debate has been going on for a long time and it is time to start making changes to try and prevent abnormal behavior and mental illness in animals.
Likewise, zoos and aquariums are appealing on the surface, but behind closed doors animals are treated as property instead of living beings leading to abnormal behavior. In a Danish Zoo a young giraffe was killed along with being “publicly butchered and fed to a lion” (“Zoos Should Save Not Kill”). The giraffe is being treated as food that has been purchased for the lion instead of being treated as an animal that needs protection. Alternatively, zoo’s claim that they only kill their animals because of the animal’s poor health, but “only a fraction of 1% killings [in zoos] are for [poor health] reasons” (Rising). However, what if the whale isn’t being killed intentionally by its caretakers, what if it dies because its environment in the aquarium is unsafe. For example, there was a young whale that died because of items being thrown into pods lodged in her blow whole; her captors did not deliberately kill her but the placement of her tank and probably the tank itself put her in danger. On a slightly similar hand, mother whales are torn apart from their children which can send the young moms into extreme sadness (“The Great Whale”). The environment zoos provide for the animals can put them under extreme distress as shown...

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