The Limitations Of Zoos On Zoos

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Polar bears provide a clear example of a species that seem unable to be confined in zoos without being significantly harmed. A recent study (Clubb & Mason 2003) showed that abnormal behaviour, specifically repetitive and stereotypic behaviour such as pacing, swaying, and head-nodding, are directly related to the size of an animal 's home range in the wild. Zoos are limited when it comes to the amount of space they can provide each of the animals they hold, given the financial and logistical issues they face as businesses with limited land and resources. Notwithstanding the fact that people go to zoos in order to be able to view an animal, which may not be possible if the animal is provided with so much space that they can wander off out of…show more content…
An example of this can be seen in the announcement made by the Detroit zoo, who declared that they would stop keeping elephants due to the fact that even their best attempt at constructing an elephant habitat is inadequate, and only leads to elephant suffering (Jamieson 2006: 141). Furthermore, we judge the conditions of individual animals within individual zoos and aquariums to be good or bad as a matter of degree, where the overall situation for a particular animal could be made worse and better, by producing changes in the level of the animal 's welfare. As utilitarianism accords equal moral status to all sentient beings and is focused purely on consequences, there are compelling reasons to utilise a utilitarian framework for evaluating zoos and aquariums (Višak 2013: 2). In fact, it may be said that utilitarianism is, for the most part, the default moral framework that is currently used by those involved in both the institutions that house animals, and those who are concerned with animal welfare.

Now that I have given an account of moral status, discussed what is involved with confining animals, and explained why I think utilitarianism is appropriate for tackling this topic, we are better situated to engage with two key arguments that are used to justify keeping animals in zoo and aquariums. Starting with the claim that they provide significant benefits in terms of education.

Zoos and aquariums are considered to be instrumental in educating people on animals, as

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