Essay Zoos and Aquariums: A Barbaric Institution

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The practice of keeping wild animals in a zoo or aquarium is looked at favorably in most aspects but what we fail to realize is that we have placed animals which at one point lived freely in wide open spaces into captivity. Society is assuming these animals are happy to be taken from their natural habitat and placed in pens and cages because they have every need handed to them. David Suzuki asked “What gives us the right to exploit other living organisms as we see fit?” (681). Through selfishness, people have justified zoos and aquariums to be an educational benefit to children, to help them learn about animals, their individuality and where they come from. Zoos and Aquariums are for society’s personal entertainment not for the good of the…show more content…
Zoos do not have the decency to give their captives free run of their trees. Animals being held in captivity develop aggressive behavior. Captive is defined as “captured; held prisoner” (Captive). On 25 December 2007 a 350-pound “Siberian Tiger escaped from its grotto at the San Francisco Zoo…and went on a bloody rampage in front of terrified zoo patrons” (Rubenstein A-1). That same tiger chewed a zoo keepers arm during a scheduled feeding one month prior. In January 2011, in “Knoxville, Tennessee, an 8,000-pound elephant crushed a zookeeper to death inside a cage” (Venezia). In Scottsbluff, Nebraska “a zookeeper…had two fingers bitten off in an attack by two chimpanzees” (Caulfield). Animals in captivity did not willingly choose to be there. No guest would attack their host if they were in the zoo of their own free will. Animals that turn aggressive towards their trainers or keepers are not in the purest since of the word, happy. If an animal were happy in captivity, they would possess no reason to attack. Keeping wild animals in captivity shortens their natural life span. In the wild, dolphins can live 40 years but when held in captivity, they rarely survive their teens. In the wild Orcas can live 90 years but when held in captivity the average age is nine years. Twenty-three out of twenty-five Orcas have died in captivity. “Approximately 157 Orcas have died in

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