English 101, Section 1582
16 April 2014
Paper 4A: Argument
Zoos: Animals in Captivity
A zoo is a place where animals live in captivity and are put on display for people to view. The word “zoo” is short for “zoological park.” Zoos contain wide varieties of animals that are native to all parts of the Earth. It is an important debate whether animals should be kept in the zoos or not. Some say that it is necessary to capture them in order to protect them from poachers. Regarding all the efforts to kill animals for ivory, skins and medical aims, zoo is quite a safe place for them. In contrast to this, it is necessary to note that animals have their natural rights and once they are put into cages these rights are broken. It is known that there are zoos where workers treat animals very cruelly. Fortunately, day by day all the zoos become more and more improved and it wouldn’t be fair to close all the zoos because of the mistakes of some of them. But no matter how good the conditions of the place where animals are kept are, the animals are still suffering because their natural behavior is limited by zoo’s walls. We can endlessly discuss the issues of zoos. Zoos vary in size and quality from drive through parks to small roadside menageries with concrete slabs and iron bars. Millions of people visit zoos annually, but most zoos operate at a loss and must find ways to cut costs or add gimmicks that will attract visitors. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2003 that “nearly half of the country’s zoos are facing cutbacks this year … [a]ttendance, meanwhile, is down about 3% nationwide.” Precious funds that should be used to provide more humane conditions for animals are often squandered on cosmetic improvements such as landscaping, refreshment stands, and gift shops in order to draw visitors. Ultimately, animals and sometimes visitors are the ones who pay the price. Tatiana, a Siberian tiger, escaped her substandard enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo in 2007 and was shot to death after she killed one person and injured two others; she had mauled one of the zookeepers a year earlier. A gorilla named Jabari tried to escape from the Dallas Zoo by jumping over walls and moats and evading electrified wires, only to be fatally shot by police; a witness later reported that teenagers were taunting the animal with rocks prior to his escape. In the summer of 2005, two polar bears died within five weeks of each other at the Saint Louis Zoo—Churchill died after ingesting an object that had been thrown into his exhibit, and Penny died from an infection as a result of having two dead fetuses in her uterus. At the Virginia Zoo, 10 prairie dogs died when their tunnel collapsed, a rhinoceros drowned in the moat of her exhibit, and a zebra narrowly escaped death after jumping into the lion exhibit, while another lost her life when she bolted from a holding pen, struck a fence, and broke her neck. Animals in captivity do not have enough room. Some animals in captivity can have sufficient amounts of room, but it will never compare to having all the room they would have in the wild to run free. The animals should not have to be confined to a little space filled with many other same species animals. Take the story of Maggie the Elephant, for example, after her family was killed, one-year-old Maggie was bought by the Alaska Zoo. She shared her quarters with Annabelle who died from a foot infection. During the summer, Maggie's world was a small outdoor pen of hard, compacted dirt and a shallow pond. During Alaska's long winter, Maggie stood on an unheated concrete floor inside a 148-square meter barn. She was overweight, sluggish, and had problems with dry skin. The zoo constructed a massive treadmill for Maggie to walk on, but she never used it. One day Maggie was found lying on her left side and couldn't get up. This is a dangerous position for an elephant, all that weight pushing down cuts off blood flow, impairs breathing, and...
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