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4
4
Yes No
Debate Score:8
Arguments:11
Total Votes:9
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 Yes (3)
 
 No (3)

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WinstonC(667) pic



Are zoos morally justifiable?

Is keeping animals in cages their whole life morally equitable? Do the ends justify the means?

Yes

Side Score: 4
VS.

No

Side Score: 4
2 points

I study animals and have looked at animals in captivity and honestly it's a sore subject. It really depends on the zoo. There are some really horrible zoos out there, one example I can give is Twycross zoo (UK), it has recently improved but you can see they invest more time and money into their primates and neglect the other animals. However, there are good zoos out there like Longleat (UK).

I don't know about American legislation on zoos but in the UK zoos must follow guidelines from BIAZA and EAZA, which means that the zoo must follow a code and they must have a breeding programme for conservation issues and they must also educate the public about endangered species. The main good thing about zoos is that they do create a lot of genetic diversity for endangered animals, so when an endangered animals reaches a genetic bottle neck in the wild the varied genes act like a safety net.

Zoos have helped a species of frog from dying out, cockroaches and bears in Slovakia. In Australia there are zoos and public sanctuaries that are helping Tasmanian devils wipe out the disease that plagues their wild counterparts.

I think zoos can do a lot of good, it is just hard to achieve. The welfare of the animal is the most important thing, some zoos don't realise this unfortunately. I wouldn't judge all zoos by a few bad ones. I believe they work well with in-situ conservation efforts (these are conservation methods that happen in the field, E.G. tracking and collaring a tiger).

One thing I will say though, there are some animals that shouldn't be in captivity, namely animals that migrate or have massive territories as it's very hard to get their enclosure big enough and/or engaging enough. I hate going to a zoo and seeing animals show stereotypies. For example, elephants, orca and polar bears, these often show stress induced behaviour while in captivity.

Side: Yes
WinstonC(667) Clarified
1 point

Thanks for the nuanced informative post. Do you think nature reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are insufficient in conservation efforts? Further is there any efficient way, without resorting to zoos, that any such insufficiency can be remedied?

Honestly if it were me I'd rather live a free life and let my species die than live in captivity. This is a huge price to ask an aware human, let alone to force on an ignorant animal. I do appreciate the importance of maintaining biodiversity though.

Side: Yes
Vermink(1942) Clarified
2 points

This is the calmest response I have had since returning to this site, so firstly I thank you for that.

National parks are definitely sufficient, I've been to India to look at the tiger reserves in Bandipur, Mudumalai and a couple of others. The tiger numbers there have seen a sufficient rise especially since they've been getting the locals involved as they didn't think conservation was needed. Of course this is a personal account so take it as you will.

I do think sanctuaries and national parks help. Especially with poaching and deforestation. Though some sanctuaries are a little ineffective, for examples ones like Black Jaguar White Tiger (Mexico), CARE rescue (Texas) and the Big Cat Sanctuary (UK). These mostly just save animals that were in circuses or were previous pets because people thought it would be a good idea to own them. These types mostly just rescue these poor things and give them better living space, mostly because they're too old to be rehabilitated and be put back into the wild. Although I do lean towards CARE as they do a lot of education about the animals and conservation efforts around the world.

One of the main issues in conservation is habitat loss and habitat fragmentation (often due to roads and other man made issues). Which is where the help of genes come in, because when a habitat is so fragmented that 2 individuals can't find each other to mate there's an issue. An issue in the areas around Mumbai, India are Leopards, they'll kill livestock and have killed children and people on multiple occasions and of course this angers people into poaching the leopard, at the moment their numbers in India are of least concern with an unknown population trend. However, that could change with more human expansion and human/animal conflict.

As for effective ways that could compensate a zoo, I am not entirely sure. I know in Slovakia they will often trek the mountains in search of things left from their 3 main carnivores (bears, wolf and lynx). They will study the DNA to look at diversity and gauge how many are around however I don't know much more past that. Though that's an interesting topic I will have to dive into.

My opinion is that both can work really well hand in hand. Nature reserves can provide a safe place to release rehabilitated animals while the animals that can't, can be given to zoos to educate and raise money for such conservation efforts, it also means their genes get put to good use. One day I would love for zoos to not be a thing, the best way to see an animal is in its natural habitat rather than in captivity. However, I do think there are zoos out there that have done things right. My local zoo has helped massively with invertebrate numbers and actively try to get the public to become more interested in them.

Side: Yes

Of course not. We shouldn't dare create safe habitats for animals that are hunted like mad in the wild and are on the endangered species list. How dare us.

Side: Yes
Harvard(651) Disputed
1 point

Firstly, not all zoos do not only house endangered species. Secondly, most zoos do not have any program for minimizing the impact of whatever is causing the endangerment--they're simply exploiting animals for monetary gain. Inbreeding white tigers (a rare mutation) to sell to other zoos does not aid in the advancement of the species.

Side: No
outlaw60(8861) Clarified
1 point

Give me a break with your nonsense.The SilverBack Gorilla that was shot in the Cincinnati Zoo sent you Leftist into pure outrage. Never was any concern for the child just the animal I did not see any of you Leftist complaining about a zoo then.

Side: Yes
outlaw60(8861) Clarified
1 point

The San Francisco Zoo is a 100-acre zoo located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, California, between Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean along the Great Highway.

You know i don't see the Leftist in California complaining about the San Fran Zoo why is that ?

Side: Yes
1 point

I think it's truly going to depend on the zoo. Would I prefer that most of them be a home for the animal while it's being rehabilitated due to an injury and can later be release back to the wild? Sure

But there are some that simply can't go back to their natural habitat, so making them as comfortable as possible and allowing people the educational experience to see and learn about them is not a bad thing.

Side: Yes
2 points

I don't believe zoos are morally justifiable. All the functions of a zoo can be fulfilled by national parks and nature reserves. If one wishes to see the wildlife of another country in the flesh then one can travel there.

It is inhumane to subject animals to imprisonment, robbing them of the joys of free living. They largely live a life of boredom and longing, confined in a small area, with the same small group of their own species (if they're lucky). Considering the existence of national parks and nature reserves, what function do zoos uniquely serve?

Side: No
1 point

Animals are trapped inside an unnatural habitat, just so we can stare at them.

Side: No