Absolutely not. In today's world, zoos are nothing short of essential. Their main function is conservation. Without captive breeding, many endangered species would now be extinct - for example, the golden lion tamarin, red wolf and Przewalski's horse. I am not for a moment suggesting that we should stop trying to protect animals' natural habitats, but if endangered species were to become extinct in the wild (which sadly seems quite likely in the near future), zoos will have preserved them for future generations, with enough genetic diversity that the possibility for reintroduction to the wild exists. In my opinion it would be unforgivable to allow tigers, pandas and so on to become extinct because they were wiped out in the wild due to hunting, habitat loss, etc., and people did not want to see them in captivity. Would you like to have explain to your children or grandchildren that they will never see a tiger except in pictures, because you disagreed with zoos? I certainly wouldn't.
Zoos are also vital for education, enabling people to see beautiful wild animals that they would never otherwise get to see, and teaching them about the threats to their species, which hopefully encourages them to respect and protect animals. The money they bring in is used to pay for the animals' food and care and to fund breeding programmes, as well as the employees' wages. Some also goes towards funding the protection of animals in the wild, and their habitats.
It's true that captive conditions in the past were often cruel, the animals being kept in cramped cages and so on, and indeed this is sometimes still the case in some countries, but in civilised countries zoos are carefully regulated - the animals are kept in conditions as close as possible to their natural habitat, with plenty of space, good diets and immediate medical care if they need it. Everything possible is done to ensure that they don't get bored - environmental enrichment is found in all good zoos. The animals...
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