In her book Animals and Society, Dr. Margo states that Americans love animals and they like to watch them as the play, eat, sleep and interact with each other. She further stipulates that people love touching animals. The human love for animals started centuries ago even before the domestication of the first animals. There has been a direct interaction between humans and animals whether in hunting parties for food or the destruction of habitat during human expansion. However, the love for animals is very captivating that wild animals are used for display in zoos as a form of entertainment and revenue (DeMello, Margo). In recent years, zoo animals have become a controversial topic, and the setbacks of keeping animals in cages and manmade habitats outweigh the benefits. Humans are now more aware of their rights and surrounding than in the past. The awareness of animal rights has led to rise of animal activists that oppose animal cruelty. With this note, I will explore the pros and cons of zoos in my analysis of chapter six of the book Animal and Society.
Zoos were created with the purpose of educating people and entertainment. Americans, as well as the rest of the world, love watching zoo animals because of urbanization where most people reside in cities and suburbs. Therefore, zoos offer a get way for people to escape from the bustle and hustle of their comfort zones and interact with the wild. As such, zoos house a variety of wild animals in confined spaces that mimic the natural habitat. In zoos, people get to view a wide array of animals that benefit the learning experience of children as opposed to watching them in movies and documentaries. Furthermore, zoos offer a platform that educates the public about wild animals and conservation measures (Manning, Aubrey, and James Serpell).
Zoos beyond the spectacle of entertainment function as a sanctuary for endangered species. Some zoos play a big role in breeding the exotic and endangered wild species as well as run conservational measures to protect these types of animals. Apart from that, conservational programs also help scientists to study endangered species and how to create sustainable populations not only at zoos but also in the natural habitat. Therefore, some zoo animals are released back into the wild as part of the program that also includes maintaining the health of these dear creatures (Manning, Aubrey, and James Serpell).
On the contrary, opponents of using animals for display and entertainment argue that zoo animals live in unnatural conditions that deprive them of the natural activities and social contact. According to recent studies, zoo animals develop Zoochosis a term used to describe animal depression and psychotic behavior. According to Margo, Tilikum an entertainment whale in SeaWorld killed its trainer the late Dawn Brancheau. The sea mammal was confined in a small tank that limited its freedom of movement to the point that it developed an aggressive behavior. Similarly, keeping animals in zoos alters their responses, character, and natural behavior that is detrimental to their health and poses a great risk to humans. Also, keeping animals in zoos reduces their lifespan because some animals develop diseases due to change of habitat. In extreme cases, zoos terminate the surplus population or sell the excess animals to animal agencies like animal testing facilities and private owners (DeMello, Margo).
In conclusion, animals need the right to freedom, protection from neglect, abuse and stress. Zoos deny animals these rights, and they teach people that its okay to captivate wild animals. Zoos should be done away with and better ways of educating people about world animals implemented.
DeMello, Margo. "Display, Performance, and Sport." Animals and Society: An Introduction To Human-Animal Studies, Columbia University Press, 2018, pp. 99-125,.
Manning, Aubrey, and James Serpell. Animals and Human Society. London [U.A.], Routledge, 2012,.
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