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POLL: Are Zoos Ethical?

Many animal welfare advocates boycott zoos. Others think they are necessary, and educational. What is your view?

If you want a surefire way to start an argument at the dinner table, and have exhausted all religious and political topics, try bringing up the topic of ethics surrounding animals in captivity.

Many animal welfare advocates argue that zoos are unethical, another exploitation of animals for the sake of entertainment. Zoos, though there are varying degrees, they say represent a form of captivity that removes the animal from its natural habitat and deprives it of a life of freedom.

For others, the zoo is a place for education, and they argue that it provides people—especially children—with information and an experience with animals they may have otherwise never encountered.

Others never think about it either way, but hop on the bus if there's a group trip to see some monkeys and giraffes.

In a recent article on the animalconnectionblog, Jennifer Horton writes, "Depending on your point of view, zoos are either sanctuaries of education and entertainment or unnecessary prisons. While some people argue that zoos play an important role in conservation and research, others counter that they do more harm than good."

Incidents of attacks of by animals against humans at zoos, such as this recent leopard attack in a Kansas Zoo, only validate for those who oppose them that the idea of keeping an animal in captivity isn't only inappropriate, but dangerous.

How do you feel about zoos and keeping animals in captivity? Please vote in our poll below.

Mary MacDonald May 05, 2012 at 11:54 AM
I just wish that people wouldn't taunt the animals in zoos. And I'm not talking about kids. The more videos we see of animals trying to get at babies behind glass, the more parents are going to try to taunt the animals to get that to happen.
ET May 07, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Zoos are a great educational opportunity for kids to see animals and learn about animals they wouldn't otherwise witness first hand. The zoos around here have been in existence for a long time, they care for their animals nicely, and the animals aren't just caged up without roaming room. For example, the new giraffe habitat at Southwicks Zoo is fantastic and the animals are beautiful. I think it was far worse to have a polar bear at the Ecotarium alone for so many years; as cool as it was to see Kenda, that was sad. A lot of zoos also have a rescue portion associated with their zoos which is a positive thing. I think there are a lot of pros for a zoo as long as the animals are well cared for.
carl berke May 13, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Zoos are by their very essence cruel and unusual. The animals in a certain local zoo are there by imprisonment and as they live, in abnormal conditions. I assure you that they are not happy. Zoos are an extension of man's attempt to conquer nature to satisfy really disturbing psychological problems. Are these the lessons we want to teach our children? Humans continue to believe that a zoo is a learning experience. For whom? At a zoo, you will learn to to regard other species as inferior and unworthy of a state of nature. You will learn that animals , like incarcerated people in Arbeit Mach Du Frei camps, will survive in deplorable and cruel conditions and the end result is an early and miserable death. Free the animals and free your miserable soul!
Dolly July 31, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Proper care should be taken of the animals i the zoo then only it is of use otherwise the animals, miss their natural home is the forest and they get wild enough in the zoo environment and loose their health. http://www.hksconsultants.com/

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