Zoos and Keeping Animals for Entertainment


Zoos and Keeping Animals for Entertainment

Animals in zoos
Is it wrong to keep animals in these places?
The animal rights answer
It is wrong if animals have rights because:
it regards the animal as a means to achieve some human end
it does not treat the animals with the respect they are due
it contravines the animal’s right to live in natural freedom

The animal welfare answer
From a welfare point of view it is not right to keep an animal in a zoo if it has a lower standard of
life than it would have in the wild.

Reasons people think keeping creatures in zoos is bad for them:

the animal is not in its natural habitat
its possible it may not have the space it requires
it has lost its social structure and companionship as it would have in the wild
it is forced into close contact with other species and people which may not be natural
the animal may become bored, lethargic, depressed and have behavioural problems
although animals may live longer in zoos than in the wild, they probably experience lower quality life

Zoos and conservation
Where a zoo is keeping animals in order to preserve them that is under threat in the wild, and
treats them well, then this is morally acceptable from.

Some activists argue that the conservation argument is faulty. They say:

a zoo may be unable to keep a large number of individuals to provide a sufficiently varied gene pool
some animals are rare and hard to breed in captivity, removing them from the wild may result
in the population falling
returning creaturess to the wild is difficult, the benefits to the overall species population may not compensate
the individual animals for the minus effects of living in a zoo

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