The Instigator
Spauldz101
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
UchihaMadara
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

Is it cruel to keep animals in the zoo?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
UchihaMadara
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,037 times Debate No: 64139
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

Spauldz101

Pro

I believe it is cruel to keep animals in the zoo and not in their natural habitat..
UchihaMadara

Con

I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Spauldz101

Pro

I believe that keeping an animal away from its natural habitat causes it to become something it isn't meant to be. Yes they do help animals but they still keep the animal in a small enclosure. For example, a lion likes to run free and actually be able to walk for miles on end, but the can't do that in an enclosure. They have about an acre of land to roam on, but the poor animal can't roam free, there are walls all around he or she.
UchihaMadara

Con

My opponent seems to be putting forth the argument that animals are significantly unhappier in zoo enclosures than they are in the wild. Unfortunately for my opponent, this is simply false, being entirely based on outdated conceptions of what zoos are like and complete conjectures which demonstrate no real knowledge of how animal psychology works. I will first establish that modern zoos are generally biologically sound (i.e. provide animals with all the resources necessary to survive):

"Zoos have improved significantly in the last 4,000 or so years. Gone are the old steel-bar enclosures and cold cement cages. Most zoos these days use natural-looking barriers like moats or ditches to separate animals from people, and have mini-habitats that resemble the animals’ natural environment... Zookeepers now understand that many animals, such as monkeys, bears, and elephants, need engaging activities to prevent boredom and mental deterioration." [1].

There are, of course, a few zoos which do not treat their animals well, and as a result, animals tend to frequently try escaping from such zoos. However, such zoos are far from being the majority, so their unethical zoo-keeping practices does not render the general practice of keeping animals in zoos to be unethical. There are plenty of organizations like the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) which specifically make it their goal to "guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums and like-minded organisations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation." [2].

With that established, I can move on to the next part of my case, which is to demonstrate, using actual scientific research into animal psychology, that on balance, zoos have anywhere from a neutral to beneficial effect on the animals living in them:

"Well-meaning but misinformed people think [wild] animals are 'happy' because they are 'free'… The life of the wild animal is simple, noble, and meaningful, they imagine. Then it is captured by wicked men and thrown into tiny jails. Its 'happiness' is dashed. It yearns mightily for 'freedom' and does all it can to escape. Being denied its 'freedom' for too long, the animal becomes a shadow of itself, its spirit broken. So some people imagine. This is not the way it is. Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where fear is high and the supply of food low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured. What is the meaning of freedom in such a context?

"Animals are territorial. That is the key to their minds. Only a familiar territory will allow them to fulfill the two relentless imperatives of the wild: the avoidance of enemies and the getting of food and water. A biologically sound zoo enclosure- whether cage, pit, moated island, corral, terrarium, aviary, or aquarium- is just another territory, peculiar only in its size and in its proximity to human territory. That it is so much smaller than what it would be in nature stands to reason. Territories in the wild are large not as a matter of taste but of necessity. In a zoo, we do for animals what we have done for ourselves with houses: we bring together in a small space what in the wild is spread out… A house is a compressed territory where our basic needs are can be fulfilled close by and safely. A sound zoo enclosure is the equivalent for an animal… Finding within it all the places it needs- a lookout, a place for resting, for eating and drinking, for bathing, for grooming, etc.- and finding that there is no need to go hunting, food appearing six days a week, an animal will take possession of its zoo space in the same way it would lay claim to a new space in the wild… it will behave the same way within its enclosure as it would in its territory in the wild… Such an enclosure is subjectively neither better nor worse for an animal than its condition in the wild; so long as it fulfills the animal’s needs, a territory, natural or constructed, simply is, without judgment.” [3]

All of the above has its basis in legitimate scientific research on animal behavior and evolutionary biology:

"[T]erritorial behaviour, in zoology, the methods by which an animal, or group of animals, protects its territory from incursions by others of its species. Territorial boundaries may be marked by sounds such as bird song, or scents such as pheromones secreted by the skin glands of many mammals. If such advertisement does not discourage intruders, chases and fighting follow... Territorial behaviour is adaptive in many ways; it may permit an animal to mate without interruption or to raise its young in an area where there will be little competition for food. It can also prevent overcrowding by maintaining an optimum distance among members of a population." [4].

With the factual validity of the LoP quotation established, it becomes clear that its conclusion is true: at the very least, most zoos have no negative effects on the well-being of their animals, potentially even being beneficial to them. The resolution is negated. I politely request that my opponent concede ^_^

[1] http://www.globalanimal.org...
[2] http://www.waza.org...
[3] Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. 19 - 23. Print.
[4] http://www.britannica.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Spauldz101

Pro

Don't u think an animal would like to actually hunt for their own food, I understand that their habitats are equipped with their necessities but I also be believe that it is still not right to keep an animals in zoos. The animals have to sit behind bars each and everyday while us humans get to look at them and take photos. Think of yourself in their shoes, would u like constant flashes in you face, I don't think so.i don't believe it is right for them to be filmed with their every move. While I was on Facebook I saw a video that was taken, it was to animals breeding. Really that should be done in private and people don't have to snigger or laugh at the poor animals. They would also have to listen to everyone talk when I guarantee animals would prefer peace. The become an attraction for humans to see while they have to live their day to day life not in their natural habitat. Animals shouldn't be born into the life they don't deserve they should be born out in the wild it be able to roam free without no disruptions. I now understand where my opponent is coming form but my opinion still hasn't change, I also believe that the animals that have suffered do deserve to stay in a zoo but not the ones that aren't. Even though they may be born into this life and grown up with it, they aren't living a life that a wild animal would.
So to my opponent, you did give a good argument and maybe mine wasn't good enough but I still stand for this and my side of the arguement.
UchihaMadara

Con

My opponent's argument relies completely on the bare assertion that the proximity of zoo habitats to humans would make the animals feel uncomfortable, but he provides no evidence of this. Even the most advanced animals are only capable of experiencing *basic* emotions, such as attachment, excitement, and aggressiveness [1]. Their psychologies aren't nearly complex enough for them to care about abstract human notions such as privacy and freedom. Pro asserts that to an animal, life in the wild is innately superior to life in zoos, but, again, he provides no evidence for this, whereas I have clearly demonstrated with reliable sources and reasoning that this cannot be said to be the case:

""Well-meaning but misinformed people think [wild] animals are 'happy' because they are 'free'" The life of the wild animal is simple, noble, and meaningful, they imagine. Then it is captured by wicked men and thrown into tiny jails. Its 'happiness' is dashed. It yearns mightily for 'freedom' and does all it can to escape. Being denied its 'freedom' for too long, the animal becomes a shadow of itself, its spirit broken. So some people imagine. This is not the way it is. Animals in the wild lead lives of compulsion and necessity within an unforgiving social hierarchy in an environment where fear is high and the supply of food low and where territory must constantly be defended and parasites forever endured. What is the meaning of freedom in such a context?" [1].

Pro seems to be one of those "well-meaning but misinformed people", with his case ultimately being based in misconceptions and emotional appeal. Realistically, taking an animal from the wild to the zoo is comparable to taking a homeless man off the streets and giving him a cheap hotel room for free. Such an action simply cannot be called "cruel" under any reasonable standard. Thus, the resolution is negated. Vote Con!

[1] http://www.pbs.org...
[2] Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. 19 - 23. Print.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Spauldz101UchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Tie. Neither had poor conduct throughout. S&G - Con. Pro's spelling was offensive, it's *you* not *u*. These debates are not text messages, thus Con wins this category. Arguments - Con. Pro depended on emotional appeal and unverified claims. There were no proper rebuttals presented against Con which left his arguments standing mostly unchallenged. Thus Con wins these points as Pro failed to affirm the resolution. Sources - Con. Pro did not utilize sources throughout this debate whereas Con did. This is a clear win for Con.
Vote Placed by Imperfiect 2 years ago
Imperfiect
Spauldz101UchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: S&G for Pro's r3. sources only provided by con and were relevant to debate and the arguments of Pro were more emotionally convincing only if you already agreed with Pro's position to begin with. Con's were less convincing for the previous con -believers as I felt no emotional connection but all in all the reasoning was much better than Pro's appeal to our hearts.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
Spauldz101UchihaMadaraTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: con fully rebuts pro, with sources too.