Animals in Captivity

Topics: Zoo, Penguin, Natural environment Pages: 6 (2410 words) Published: May 2, 2011
Running Head: Trapped Behind Bars

The zoo is packed with children, running everywhere. They laugh and smile as they watch the animals at the zoo sleep. What these children do not realize is that these animals are dying on the inside. Animals that live at the zoo are extremely depressed. These animals can suffer severe psychological disorders from being out of their natural environment. But others argue that keeping these animals in captivity will help keep endangered species alive. However, the disadvantages of keeping animals in captivity are becoming more and more serious, and more people are beginning to believe that animals should not be held captive. Animals should not be kept in captivity because of the negative impact it can have on their life. On Christmas Day, in the year 2007 a tiger broke out of its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo. Once out of its cage, the tiger attacked 3 people, severely injuring two people, and killing one. Unfortunately, this was not the first time that this tiger had shown aggression towards people. A year before this incident, this tiger had injured a zoo keeper during a public feeding (Roberts, 2008). In captivity animals are isolated from their natural habitat, and are provided with very little physical and mental stimulation. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), facilities with potential dangerous animals, must have appropriate safety procedures in order to prevent attacks by these animals. Sadly, these procedures were not followed at the San Francisco Zoo (Roberts, 2008). Another incident like this occurred with a killer whale and its trainer. Dawn Brancheau was drug to the bottom of her killer whale’s tank at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Although these whales are called, “killers” there is no record of them killing human beings in the wild. According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, attacks by killer whales in captivity happens more than you think (McCarthy, 2010). Why do these animals attack in captivity and not in the wild? The answer to this question is believed to be linked to captivity related stress. In the wild, these animals are very social, living with 10 to 20 other whales. Placing these animals in captivity alters their behavior, and leads these animals to have unpredictable anger. Because of this animal welfare campaigners believe that killer whales should not be placed into captivity, but you can not just place the animals that were so easily caught into the wild again (McCarthy, 2010). People argue that keeping these kinds of animals in captivity provides the world with numerous educational benefits, but accidents like this are happening more and more. These incidents make a person wonder if these animals were never to be placed into captivity, would these tragedies have happened. Animals should not be kept in captivity because it has been proved to have a negative impact on their lives. Generally, animals that live in zoos suffer from poor well-being. Although, these animals receive veterinary care that they normally would not receive in the wild, they can suffer from severe stress. Evidence has been found that psychological needs of these animals are not being met. Not only do these animals suffer mentally, but they also suffer physically too. After being placed in captivity, some animals can become susceptible to opportunistic infections such as jaw abscesses (Mason, 2009). Also the giraffe has a short lifespan in captivity then it would normally have in the wild. The reasoning behind this is that they have low energy intake in the wild and poor nutritional status (Mason, 2009). Many animals that live in captivity do not seem the flourish in the same way that they would in the wild. Many animals that live in captivity do not get the kind of exercise that their bodies need, especially elephants (Smith, 2008). Being locked up in a facility might be helping these animals avoid poachers, but the lack of exercise is causing...

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McCarthy, Michael. "Should We Be Keeping Animals Such as Killer Whales in Captivity?;The Big Question." The Independent [London] 26 Feb. 2010, First ed.: 50. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 3 Mar. 2011.
Mason, Georgia. ScienceDirect -Animal & Poultry Science Department, University of Guelph. Retrieved March 3, 2011 from <>.
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