Living conditions are crucial to an animal’s survival. Captivity cannot begin to replicate what it means to be free. Living in an enclosed prison cell, animals are prevented from natural activities like running, roaming, flying, climbing, foraging, choosing a partner, and being with others of their own kind (“Pitiful Prisons”). Zoos also cannot provide the amount of space animals have in the wild especially for species who roam larger distances in their natural habitat. “Tigers and lions have around 18,000 times less space in zoos than would in the wild. Polar bears have one million times less space” (10 Facts About Zoos). The federal Animal Welfare Act establishes only the most minimal standards for cage size, shelter, health care, ventilation, fencing, food and water. A zoo is no place like home.
Zoo animals’ behavior reflect their feelings. Behavioral research conducted on zoo animals is controversial because nothing can be learned by studying animals that are kept in unnatural conditions. Environments trigger behaviors. The Born Free Foundation in the United Kingdom has investigated how animals feel about captivity by studying t...
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Newkirk, Ingrid. (2009) The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.
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