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The Zoo Controversy Essay

1585 words - 6 pages

Everybody’s been to the zoo; they’ve either enjoyed a dolphin show, or fed the penguins. Zoos have been a part of American culture for centuries. At first, a zoo could be seen as nothing more than a jail cell for animals, but today, zoos are being completely transformed. What used to be confined cages are now being revolutionized into acres of land for different species to reside in. The opponents of zoos feel that they are inhumane and harmful to animals. However, zoos are beneficial for several different reasons, including, animal conservation and captive breeding, scientific studies, healthcare, and education.
Daniel Martin, writer for, wrote an article about Angela Smith who works as a Labor’s Charities Minister. Smith is strongly opposed to zoos and thinks they should be banned in Britain. Smith describes zoos as “cruel relics of the Victorian Era,” (Martin 1) forgetting about all the advantages that come with zoos. Martin writes, “Ms Smith, patron of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society campaign group, earlier this year boycotted an event because it was being held at London Zoo,” (Martin). This article touches on the moral injustice of keeping animals in captivity. In response to Smith, David Field, the director of the London Zoo, replied “To say stop bringing wild animals into zoos just shows Angela Smith’s incredible naivety about why zoos exist,” (Martin). Field goes on to say the remarkable things zoos are comprised of, including the incredible power zoos have to directly connect you with nature (Martin).
First off, opponents of zoos need to understand that zoos are not what they used to be. When zoos were first created, animals were treated like prisoners, locked up in small cages. But today, zoos serve many useful purposes. Zoos are significantly involved with breeding endangered animals and releasing them back into the wild. Currently, animals in zoos are kept in well-clean, vast areas of land where they are free to roam around in a habitat where they feel comfortable. According to a TIME Magazine article, The San Diego Zoo spent 3.5 million dollars to construct a mock forest for five bears (Gibbs). The exhibit includes trees, a waterfall, and even an electronic honey dispenser. According to the article, “[w]hen the lush exhibit opened this summer, zoogoers loved it, and so did the bears. They shredded the trees and rolled in the sod,” (Gibbs). Instead of the small cages and foul odors that most people associate with zoos, many zoos spend a large sum of their budget on keeping their facilities pristine. Animal habitats are now bigger than ever, and more importantly, cleaned multiple times a day, along with the animals’ regular feedings. This further proves that zoos have made drastic improvements over the introductory zoos most people associate with.
Contrary to what Smith believes, zoos are actually very beneficial for animals, one of the main reasons being conservation of species in zoos....

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