We have been reading and thinking about whether or not it is cruel to keep animals in zoos. Some of the points we have considered are:
- modern zoos in countries like Australia have much better conditions for animals than zoos in the past
- many zoos have breeding programs for endangered species
- many zoos conduct research into animals that may help to protect the species in their natural habitat
- people can learn about animals by visiting zoos and they may then be more likely to support programs to protect the animals in the wild
- zoos can provide homes for animals that are orphaned or injured and wouldn’t survive in the wild
- it is unnatural for animals to be in captivity and many zoo animals show signs of stress
- Is it ethical to place animals in captivity just so humans can view them as exhibits?
- Many zoos around the world keep animals in cruel conditions with cramped, dirty cages and poor diets
Last week in ‘The Age’ newspaper there was an article about zoos in Indonesia and the terrible conditions in which animals are kept. There was a large colour photo of an emaciated (very skinny) adult female tiger. It was a very distressing image and had a big emotional impact on me. You can read the article here but be warned that it might be upsetting for many people.
So what is your opinion? What do you think about keeping animals in zoos?