The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Zoos

People always seek entertainment. This has always been an aspect of the human condition. From the time that cave dwellers first understood that hitting two objects together could create a sound there has been musical accompaniment to the vocals that we use for speech and song. Aside from music, there has also been a desire to see things that are unfamiliar. Whatever is novel is exceptional to us and this is part of the reason that we have zoos. This paper seeks to look at the advantages and disadvantages of these public spaces.

The Advantages

Zoos allow children and adults to get close to animals that they might not otherwise be able to see in their own countries. This exposure can have many effects. Most obviously it can spark an interest in the conservation of animals who are at or near the brink of extinction. Young people may decide to pursue veterinary studies to be able to help animals that they feel a particular affinity. Another good that comes from this is that children may come to see their own responsibility for the planet. This may encourage them to use fewer resources or little less frequently. For some animals, these areas are also responsible for the continuation of their species through in-house breeding programs.

The Disadvantages

Many animals need much more space than can be given to them in their enclosures. They miss their freedom and they suffer psychologically for it. This causes changes in their behavior and they may never recover if they were finally released. The cramped quarters can also make it easy for illnesses to spread, especially those that can jump from one species to another. There is also a less spoken of reason that zoos can be disastrous. They attract people who may wish to abuse animals just as much as people who love them. In their position of power they may hurt the creatures placed in their care and unless they are being supervised constantly, no one would necessarily find out. Even where the conditions in the facility are adequate, zoos can perpetuate the idea that animals exist for our entertainment and that their feelings should always be counted as less important than our own.

As with any institution that needs adjustment, our societies will hold onto these animal displays in their current incarnation for as long as they can. Change is uncomfortable.


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