Animals should not be Kept in Zoos (essay)

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Although zoos look like a welcoming, and fun place for animals to interact with other animals of the same species, it is quite the opposite. Zoos across the world do not cater to the needs of animals, even though it may look as if they do. The animals inside roam around their never-changing enclosure, many times lined with concrete flooring that does not replicate the natural landscapes. Many animals held in zoos also exhibit abnormal behaviors, attack innocent people, and live a miserable life inside a cage.

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Many zoos throughout the country have animals that exhibit signs of “zoochosis” which is a neural abnormal behavior. Most often, primates, tigers, polar bears, birds, and fish show signs of this mental abnormality from being held in captivity day in and day out. Primates throw poop, tigers’ pace back and forth, polar bears swim in circles, birds pluck their own feathers until they have no more, and fish swim and scrape on the sides of their tanks (PETA, 2010). Aside from those behaviors, captivity can affect many other physiological problems. According to Pierce and Bekoff (2018) being held captive can cause “abnormal behaviors indicative of psychological trauma, changes to immune function, brain morphology, reproductive behaviors, and circadian rhythms” (pg. 44). This further proves that animals may look normal from outside of the enclosure, but psychologically they are not okay. This alone is one of the many reasons why zoos should be banned across the world.

These psychologically disturbed, innocent animals often take the fall for the zoo’s mistakes. We have all heard of the sad stories involving zoo animals hurting children whose parents probably were not watching very closely, and then the animal getting severely punished for its abnormal behavior, caused by the zoo in the first place. In 2016, at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, a child slipped through a fence falling into a gorilla enclosure. People above started screaming in horror about what might unfold. A seventeen-year-old gorilla came over to the boy, at first appearing to shield him from all the noise. Then, the psychologically disturbed gorilla named Harambe, started dragging the boy through a water filled moat inside the cage he occupied. When zookeepers failed to pull apart the boy and the gorilla, the gorilla was shot dead without hesitation (Heller, 2016, para. 1). As expected, there was a huge ethical debate about what should have been done instead; however, if zoos did not exist, this would have never happened in the first place.

Aside from having zookeepers kill dangerous animals who have “snapped,” many animals have suffered due to tourists who visit them. According to PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) there are countless ways zoo animals can be harmed even when they are just minding their own business. Over the years, zoo animals have been poisoned, crushed by exhibit doors, left to burn in fires, and died from eating different objects thrown at them such as plastic bags and coins. PETA also mentioned this horrifying story: “A bear starved to death at the Toledo Zoo after zoo officials locked her up to hibernate without food or water—not knowing that her species doesn’t hibernate” (PETA, 2010). All of these tragic stories are very important reasons explaining why zoos should no longer exist.

Zoos also discourage the natural instincts of wild animals. Many animals migrate and travel long distances each day. Zoos make this impossible, denying animal welfare. Elephants usually walk about five miles each day, which makes it hard to build an enclosure big enough for elephants to be happy. Elephants are also very social creatures, sometimes living in herds of almost 60 animals. Elephants also form strong bonds with their peers, and zoos often times split up animals causing a great deal of stress (Should elephants be kept in zoos, 2018). Another animal that struggles in zoos are big cats. Many big cats show signs of “zoochosis” since their average enclosures are about 18,000 times smaller than their natural roaming areas (PETA, 2010). Zoos do not have the funds, nor the resources to fulfill those needs; therefore, zoos are inadequate places to happily house many, if not all, animals.

In summary, many innocent lives have been harmed when talking about zoos; whether it be the animals themselves, or innocent people they’ve hurt. Zoos cannot possible meet the needs of animals they house because their enclosures are small, and it eliminates many animals’ natural instincts. Animals have also gotten hurt and even killed because of problems solely caused from living in captivity. Last but not least, humans have died because these poor animals’ psychological problems are so detrimental that it causes them to snap. It is important to ban zoos, in order to save lives of many innocent animals and people alike.  

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Animals Should Not Be Kept In Zoos (essay). (2021, May 23). Retrieved November 26, 2022 , from

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