Would you clasify zoos as cruel and unusual punishment?
Will our children's generation look to us, at our fascination with animals and zoos and think us cruel and inhumane for caging animals? Just as the victorian freak shows died out as a consequence of a developing society will so the same happen to zoos? In 50 years hence, will zoos be no more?
I don't know that I would go so far as calling it cruel, but zoos certainly make me feel uncomfortable for the reasons you have mentioned. I feel particularly sorry for the animals there who have to endure climates and seasons which are very different to their natural habitat.
An additiona point is that before the advent of easily accessible cinema, it was hard to find out about these animals. Now that there are so many excellent films and shows depicting animals in their natural habitat (usually with a great commentary by a qualified zoologist), I feel that these trump the value of having animals caged in a zoo. For example, you can see how animals would actually behave in the wild on film - this is not necessarily the case at the zoo. Maybe the making of excellent wildlife shows might start the demise of the zoos?!
Anyhow, that's my point of view. I'm keen to hear what other people have to say, whether for or against zoos and to hear their ideas on the future of zoos.
Yes. Wild animals belong in the wild. If you were caged up for no reason would you think that to be cruel?
I do too! Wild animals belong in the wild not in our zoos and or backyards. Now what if the tables were turned how would we as humans feel then?
Yes, while I admit to enjoying zoos--I do think animals belong in their natural setting and not in a cage. However nice and modern the cage it, it is still a cage or enclosure. Many of these animals are native to Africa where they have miles and miles of land to roam.
I realize many of the animals in zoos are bred in captivity and then again--how sad is that?
I really believe that some animals should never be in zoos, due to the amount of space the species is used to having. The panther for example, also called cougar and mountain lion, roams an area 75 miles wide in the wild. Confining animals like these in a cage is cruel in my opinion.
I've seen the horror of bears trapped for a life time in enclosures barely able to take two strides. Monkeys thrown together en-mass in small cages, reptiles stuffed in chicken coops and starving all for the mighty lucre; but the most poignant one of all was a Gorilla. Even though it had a 'natural' setting it still of course had no privacy. It was in a corner with its back to everyone and would occasionally turn around with a human expression of shame and a plea of 'please' don't stare at me. There's got to be a better way.
The modern Zoo is a far cry from the Zoos of old. I'm talking about the Zoo's that participate in breeding programs and research to help keep certain species from extinction due to bad practices that still do exist today :-)
"classify zoos as cruel unusual punishment?". Can I ask the same question about schools, hotels, taxis etc etc? All zoos are not the same. Sadly so many people do not understand the concept of the good modern zoo at all. Please read my hub 'Zoo Misconceptions' and move on from there. It will answer your question and also clarify a number of other points.
I don't believe that even in the worst zoos that 'punishment' comes into the equation though cruelty undoubtedly does.
My husband and I went to a zoo here in Michigan... I was disappointed to an extreme.
The polar bears were kept outdoors in the bright sun with no type of shade or shelter, it was 90º out that day... I don't know that I'll ever go back to that zoo, or any other zoo if I don't have to.
So my answer would be borderline. In some situations, the zoo does not provide adequate shelter or anything for the animals; then yes, it's cruel. BUT, if the zoo is providing the animal with the proper shelter and other life necessities, then no. The zoo in my hometown keeps their polar bears in a HUGE indoor habitat year-round that is basically a giant freezer and they seemed quite happy.
For some animals I believe it is cruel, though for others it depends on the environment and space.
It is sad that the human arrogance that believes we are so superior to all other animals causes us to put them on display. It is wonderful that some of these animals that our "progress" is driving to extinction will be saved through the same institutions.
No, I think today's modern zoo's do a lot of educate the increasingly urban society about the value of a diverse planet full of wonderful animals. Zoo's do a lot to save endangered species and raise awareness.
All animals (with the exception of the ones I will talk about below) do not possess advanced self awareness, a sense of continuity, and advanced capacity to reason. Therefore, they cannot be sad because they are in a cage, because they don't know what a cage is. They cannot long to be free, because they can't "long". They cannot conceive if the future. As long as they are given exceptional care, they can be quite happy in captivity.
The only exceptions to this rule are the " Special Three": Great Apes (including us), Cetaceans (whales and dolphins), and Elephants. These animals are special in that they possess all of the above qualities, and have much more advanced cognitive abilities.
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