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What will come up in your mind when you think of animals in the zoo? Is it an enormous but tame elephant or is it a lazy and cute little Koala? With no doubt, that’s exactly what we see in the zoo. Speaking of which, the origin of the zoo can be chased back to early 19th century in European countries. During that period of time, they considered it a way to show their conquests to their colonial countries. According to Lori Marino, Gay Rradshaw and Randy Malamud, they stated that “As time went by and colonial empires expanded, the traditions of public participation in zoo and marine park enterprise is just as enthusiastic as elsewhere. Since then, the zoo has existed to entertain human beings until now. However, the place that we find it interesting and entertaining isn’t really that wonderful as it seems to be, especially for those animals. There are some existing problems, such as being forced to leave their original inhabitation, the insufficient living space in the zoo, and even being used to be a tool to make money in the circuses which is connected to specific zoos. Therefore, we shouldn’t support this kind of cruel business industry to continue existing in the world. To do so, we are ought to understand the plight that those animals are facing until today, instead of viewing it solely as a relaxing place to go.
First of all, animals aren’t like human that have the ability to say NO to whatever we don’t agree with; instead, they can only be forced to do so. As a result, because of human’s greed and own good, they move those animals from where they live originally to the zoo. You may think that it is not really a big deal to live in another place; then let’s look at an example:
One good example is Maggie, the young African elephant who almost perished in the zoo where she was being kept. Maggie lived in Anchorage’s Alaska Zoo until 2007. After losing the companionship of another elephant, Maggie’s health declined. Zoo personnel, veterinarians, scientists and public advocates feared that Maggie’s survival was threatened after so many years of living in inhospitable conditions (including, most obviously, the drastic difference between her native African climate and Alaska’s extreme cold).
From the passage above, we can tell that it is extremely brutal for them. That is to say, when animals are forced to live in other places, they need to deal with so many obstacles, including the different types of climate, the changing environment and also the loss of companions. As a result, this behavior may even lead to the increases death rates of animals eventually if they can’t adjust the totally different environment. Thus, we shouldn’t neglect their needs for living but to just fulfill our own good without any considerations.
Second, according to one website; it claims that “Take elephants for example, they can live up to 50 years in the wild whereas in captivity they live a minimum 16-18 years. The small spaces prevent the animals from having any privacy, mental stimulation, and physical exercise.” Although that Dave Hone once stated that “Degree of care and degree of enclosure make the idea of ‘captivity’ fluid and not absolute”, we can still think about it. Here, we can simply picture the contrast between the savannahs in Africa and the little tiny cage in the zoo. With such little space for them, they absolutely feel lost and upset. It is just like us human beings who are diagnosed with serious depression. For those people, they may not even have any motivation to live. So as those animals in the cage, that’s not how their lives should be like under no circumstances. More than that, once animals suffer from too much oppression, they may even do some unusual behaviors, such as shaking their heads and entire body or keeping walking in circles. For people who don’t understand the true meaning and reasons behind it may find them cute; however, the reason why they do so is because they are bored or even sick.
Third, some of the animals in the zoo are even forced to do entertaining performances, including the interactions with certain audience. Maybe some of you have had the experiences to go to a circus, and watched those amazing tricks performed by animals, such as elephant and so on. However, you may not know the exact situation about how violent and brutal the trainers are when they train animals. It is not that hard to imagine the way they treat those animals behind the stage just to earn as much money as they can. Moreover, there are even some activities in aquariums to offer opportunities for the views to swim with dolphins or throw some tools to fool them. Above all, those are not even what the animals are supposed to be doing. But why do they need to do so? Yes, it is because of us again. We take advantages with animals to earn money, even when it is absolutely wrong.
However, according to Weston, he states that “The argument for zoos is often that they serve to educate the public, they give people who can’t afford to travel a chance to see the animals, and that zoos serve as important conservation centers.” There is no doubt that people can get to see them without travelling abroad, but we should not treat any creature in this way no matter what. However, as for the conservational aspect, most of the zoos don’t really do that. According to Dale, he claims that:
Even if all of these difficulties are overlooked, the importance of preserving endangered species does not provide much support for the existing system of zoos. Most zoos do very little breeding or breed only species which are not endangered. Many of the major breeding programmes are run in special facilities which have been established for that purpose.
With the information above, we can realize that zoos aren’t really in charge of preserving endangered species. Then, it means that it only exists to entertain human beings, doesn’t it?
Above all, zoos are not a wonderful and fun place to visit, but a harsh jail for those animals to live in. When they are forced to leave where they originally live, they start to suffer. Moreover, they are closed in the tiny cages, which make them hard to do whatever they want; and some zoos even train them to do some tricks and performances. All and all is due to the greed deep in human’s minds. We tend to take advantages with animals, and force them to do whatever they should not be doing, just to earn money. Some people claim that zoos are important place to preserve some rare or endangered species; as a matter of fact, there is no apparent evidences to back up for it. As a result, when we truly want to protect those endangered animals, we shouldn’t simply keep them in the zoo. Instead, we should spend the money constructing some animal preserving institutions. Over there, animals can receive the best caring unlike the way in the zoos. In addition, they won’t be enclosed in a tiny space but a real ground to do some physical exercises. Therefore, there are something that we can do, including not going to the zoos and any performances with animals, where so many beloved animals are treated badly. Moreover, let’s tell as many as people the dark situation behind this lovely place. Although it may seem like a small favor to do, it is really a big step to let people understand the prices those animals are paying just to entertain us. Once we can live in harmony with all the animals, we can claim that we truly love them.
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