Prisoners Without Choice

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Prisoners without Choice

When people go on a trip to the zoo, it can be assumed that they do not think about much more than what they can see. Signals that make zoos unfair and sometimes unbearable for the captive animals are not visible to most spectators. This essay will explain how zoos are unjust and should not be supported. Animals should not be held captive due their negative behavioral changes, lack of natural habitat and the zoos failure to effectively preserve endangered species.

Even though zoos try to imitate the natural habitat of each animal, the area for the zoo might not be able to support the animals needed environment. When visiting a zoo many people fail to notice that the animals have living areas measuring an acre or smaller. “Their enclosures are often small, barren, and without shade or privacy” (Laws). “Animals also need to endure dirty living conditions, stagnant water, and hard floors to sleep on at night” (Laws). It’s obvious that in the wild any animal has almost unlimited space to live in. They catch and forage for food naturally and mate naturally.

Natural hunting and mating behaviors are virtually eliminated by regulated feeding and breeding regimens. Captive animals are not able to choose their own mates. After a captive animal does eventually breed, their mate is taken out of the area. This can be emotionally damaging for those animals who choose a mate for life. Most animals are similar to humans in the fact that they need a connection with their mate. Zoos often eliminate this option. The animals are closely confined, lack privacy, and have little opportunity for mental stimulation or physical exercise, resulting in abnormal and self-destructive behavior.

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... middle of paper ... not met. Animals are living beings that deserve rights and respect, and being kept in a zoo does not meet these standards. People need to realize that animals are worthy of some of the privileges we receive. Endangered species can ultimately be saved by us, if we support their natural habitats and fight the people who kill them. “Significantly, we object to human captivity for one reason only, that humans have a right to freedom, or just ought to be free. Why shouldn’t this be the case with non-humans too?” (Bostock). Zoos should not be supported because they are violating animal rights.

Works Cited

Bostock, Stephen, Zoos and Animal Rights: The ethics of keeping animals, 1993

“Laws as they apply to Animals and Zoos”,, Accessed 4/5/03

“Zoos: Pitiful Prisons”,, Accessed 3/20/03
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