Welfare-based zoos are cognizant of the well-being of the animals it inhabits. The welfare of the animals in such zoos is valued over the exploitation of the animals. In other words, the owners and workers in welfare-based zoos are not concerned about the amount of income they are receiving from the number of visitors. They are concerned about the well-being and ethical treatment of the animals. Zamir Tzachi, a philosopher and professor, defends good zoos in the fact that they remain true to their moral treatment of animals.
In this argumentative essay, I will be arguing the ethics of zoos and certain problems that need to be addressed that people are not aware of. Zoos are great places to take the family out for the day to have entertainment; however, problems such as captive breeding, length of life, and animal stress need to improve. Captive breeding programs are what make zoos ethical, but several problems need to be confronted. Zoos operate captive breeding programs in which they take animals from the wildlife and breed then in a scientifically controlled environment. They have saved several species from extinction such as the Red Wolf and the Przewalski Horse, and are aiding many others such as the blue-crowned laughing thrush.
Many zoos today say their main purpose is breeding endangered species in captivity and reintroducing them into the wild (Masci, D., 2000, April 28). Zoos have many benefits, not just for the animals themselves, but also the humans who can enjoy them. People, as a whole, are becoming increasingly distant from nature as we move to bigger cities and away from the wildlife. For many, real experiences with wild animals can only be found in zoos (Masci, D., 2000, April 28). With education comes recognition and worry.
Although some zoos claim to study the animals, these creatures are kept in artificial environments; thus, the results obtain by the observations will be inaccurate. Also, other zoos say they are protecting species from extinction; however, most animals in zoos are not endangered, so it can be assumed that they were chosen because they attract a lot of visitors. Clearly, zoo owners are more concerned with receiving a profit than caring for the animal’s they have imprisoned. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that animals are respected and treated adequately because they are unable to do so themselves.
However, it has been shown that that is not the case. Many animals experience a lack of biosecurity and cross-contamination with diseases from the other animals they are in facilities with, that they would never encounter in the wild. Zoos and Animal Rights: The Ethics of Keeping Animals by Stephen St C. Bostock, who is a Zoological Education Officer at Glasgow Zoological Gardens in Scotland, discusses that there is an idea that zoos and aquariums will prevent animals from contracting diseases and it will keep them healthier than they would be in the wild, but that is not always the case. Bostock says that the stress of being captured and transported can make the animal more prone to a serious parasitic infection. On the other hand, he says that some animals are better off in zoos because they have infections or conditions that they would die from in nature.
After a 90% drop of Tasmanian Devils, the Australian Government responded quickly by making a nationwide breeding program held in captivity. Keeping animals in captivity or a zoo helps them not be classified as an endangered species. The animals held in zoos can avoid natural disasters and predators. So, keeping animals in zoos protect them from disasters, keep them healthy, and make zoos come together as a better zoo. In a like manner, Australian zoos are breeding disease-free Tasmanian devils as insurance against the facial cancer that killed 80% of the wild population (Australia).
If we avoid hunting them down or destroying their ecosystems, they can survive.” Zamir states (197). I believe that all animals are sentient beings that deserve consideration, respect, and understanding. I believe that all wild animals deserve to live free of humans. As Samir stated, the life of wild animals does not depend on human intervention, however, what we do to their habitats and ecosystem does affect their lives and their well-being. That is the opposite of what zoos do, and that is why they should be banned.
The park had animals such as deer, and grizzly bear and 120 other animals. Now, Henry Doorly Zoo is a home to over 17,000 animals, and different 962 species. However, with all of these different animals in the zoo, it upsets the animals’ native ecology. Even under the best circumstances at the best zoos, a zoo cannot start to replicate the wild animals’ habitat. Where a wild animal is free to roam and explore the world, one in a zoo is confined to a small area.
Perhaps if the general public, meaning those who do not have the privilege of visiting these zoos becomes more informed about the work, less questions will be raised about this transition. Personally, I cannot differentiate the one who suffers in this arrangement. The animals' rights are looked after, the public becomes more aware and the endangered numbers of many species are strengthened. If the children still squeal, the animals are safe and measures are being taken to help Earth's creatures, I would consider the venture successful and applaud it as well.
Zoos should base the welfare of animals on if these factors exceed standards because they should be thriving and not just surviving. Zoos rely on the tradition and practices that have already taken place and not on the new evidence. Melfi suggests that these traditions have not been recently tested and they could have changed. Without empirical study, you cannot have a good impact from housing and husbandry (H&H). The solution to this problem was to find studies that have had an impact on other zoos’ H&H.