Are zoos inherently cruel to animals? | The Tylt

Are zoos inherently cruel to animals?

Some animal rights activists say zoos are inherently cruel to animals. No matter how comfortable the exhibits are, the animals are trapped and denied the ability to live as they choosesolely for the enjoyment of humans. Supporters of zoos say they are necessary for animal conservation. In addition to raising awareness, many zoos also rehabilitate injured wildlife and save species in danger of extinction. What do you think? 

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Modern zoos are designed to give animals a high quality of life, with many species averaging a longer lifespan in captivity than in the wild. Zoos educate visitors, conduct important research, and help conserve threatened species through breeding programs and captive populations. 

What I would state with absolute confidence is that for many species (but no, not all) it is perfectly possible to keep them in a zoo or wildlife park and for them to have a quality of life as high or higher than in the wild. Their movement might be restricted (but not necessarily by that much) but they will not suffer from the threat or stress of predators (and nor will they be killed in a grisly manner or eaten alive) or the irritation and pain of parasites, injuries and illnesses will be treated, they won’t suffer or die of drought or starvation and indeed will get a varied and high-quality diet with all the supplements required. They can be spared bullying or social ostracism or even infanticide by others of their kind, or a lack of a suitable home or environment in which to live. A lot of very nasty things happen to truly ‘wild’ animals that simply don’t happen in good zoos and to cast a life that is ‘free’ as one that is ‘good’ is, I think, an error.
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Critics say everything a zoo does can be done without keeping the animals in captivity. With modern technology, it's possible to stream in to see animals in their natural habitat, and collect data on the animals remotely. It is morally wrong to deny intelligent creatures freedom. 

But concern for caged animals has caught enough mainstream interest that New York and California introduced bills that would outlaw killer whales kept in captivity. Their focus on killer whales is in large part owed to a 2013 documentary called Blackfish, but it proves that it has become a concern for more than a fringe of animal-rights advocates. So much so, that last March, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said it would stop breeding captive killer whales. And if keeping an orca in large tank is unethical, then why not an elephant, a tiger, or a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla?

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Post by Lynn Wade.
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Post by Carrie Ann Aubin.
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FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Are zoos inherently cruel to animals?
A festive crown for the winner
#ZoosAreCruel
#ZoosAreImportant