The Instigator
MrMarkP37
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
untitled_entity
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

It is inhumane for animals to be kept in a zoo

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
untitled_entity
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 12,375 times Debate No: 7588
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

MrMarkP37

Con

I disagree with the notion that it is inhumane to hold animals in a zoo. For the purposes of this argument I have the following criteria, a zoo constitutes a facility that is open to the public and funded by private donation or tax dollars, is run by a private group or a government of the United States and as such is in compliance with federal and state laws.

My basic premise is that when a zoo is in compliance with the laws there is nothing inhumane about a zoo. In a zoo an animal is loved, fed and given room to roam and interact with others of its kind. It is also insolated from the dangers that are ever present in the wild. What zoos take away in space, they more than make up for in safety. I await a challenger.
untitled_entity

Pro

I would like to thank Mr.Mark for creating this debate and look forward to a good debate.

I would first like to define "inhumane" before we begin... "lacking pity or compassion" [Dictionary.com - its convenient]

I would like to state that my opponents basic premise is that when a zoo is in compliance with laws then it is not being inhumane to its animals . He continues to say that zoos provide a place where an animal is loved, fed and is able to interact with creatures of its own kind.

* What my opponent fails to recognize is that often times Zookeepers are not held subject to a strict code of conduct as Zoos operate in a monolithic sense. Those these people are supposed to be trained in working in this profession I know of a few teenagers who work at zoos and to say that these mere children accurately know how to care for an animal is quite absurd. In addition, I do agree that zookeepers do in fact get attached to the animals it does occur where zookeepers are downright out of line in the treatment of the animals. There have been instances where Gorilla cages have not been cleaned out for weeks, as well as times where zookeepers beat the animals if they do not do what they want. It is obvious that this is generally out of frustration not because of the fact that the animal is insubordinate as in fact that are animals and do not always comprehend humans I too have gotten frustrated at one point with my pets. This clashes with my opponents statement that if they were operating under the law... Generally there is not a state law overseeing the work of zoo employees.

* My second contention is that animals are better off in the wild naturally anyways. Without human interference in the first place we would not have to put endangered species in to zoos. In addition, animals are naturally better off in their own habitat just as a human is better off in their own habitat. To take a happy animal and relocate him just for the sake of attendance rates at the zoo is unfair, the best interest of the animal should always take precedent. Finally, it is often the fault of an irresponsible zookeeper when an animal dies. Many times zookeepers are unaware of how to accurately recreate the natural habitat of the environment the animal previously lived in and they often ingest the wrong plants or fall from too high of a level.

* My third and final contention is that animal interaction is not always common in a zoo. When big animals are placed in small spaces they often become territorial. This prevents zookeepers from being able to put three or so animals in one area - limiting interactions. As a result animals often lead a long life of solitude. One of the necessities vital to life is company and by having animals live alone their quality of life has been depleted. This doesn't even begin to take into account the species of animals that must be kept in pairs for if they are not they will die.

I now stand ready for cross - ex or refutation of my points
and urge an affirmative ballot
Debate Round No. 1
MrMarkP37

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for taking up this debate and I look forward to a lively discussion.

My opponent claims: "What my opponent fails to recognize is that often times Zookeepers are not held subject to a strict code of conduct as Zoos operate in a monolithic sense. Those these people are supposed to be trained in working in this profession I know of a few teenagers who work at zoos and to say that these mere children accurately know how to care for an animal is quite absurd. In addition, I do agree that zookeepers do in fact get attached to the animals it does occur where zookeepers are downright out of line in the treatment of the animals. There have been instances where Gorilla cages have not been cleaned out for weeks, as well as times where zookeepers beat the animals if they do not do what they want."

I am not sure where my opponent has gottent this information from but I do know that zoos are required to have a liecenced zoologist on staff. These people have dedicated their lives to animals it is hard to imagine that they did so while caring so little for animals that they would let them be put in danger or subject to inhumane practices.

Additionally the government created the Animal Welfare Act to help govern zoos and zoo practices.-http://www.animallaw.info...

One of the provisions states that the purpose of the act is to establish standards of humane treatment and to monitor and maintain compliance with the act.

Basically the government has said that if zoos do not follow the laws for humane treatment then they will be shut down. My opponent claims that there is no law over zoo employees but it couldn't be more clear that there is. The federal government, through the USDA, is charged with making sure that all employees of our nation's zoos are maintaining high ethical standards when it comes to treatment of animals.

My opponent also claims that animals are better off in the wild. I believe that this is false for two reasons. The first reason is that animals live longer when they are held in captivity:

Signs of senility, or extreme old age, are seldom seen in the wild.
Animals living under natural conditions rarely approach their maximum
possible age because of very high death rates due to infant mortality,
diseases, predators, bad weather, accidents, or competition for food and
shelter. For this reason, most of the reliable information about the
length of the life span comes from zoos, where accurate records are
kept and animals live under conditions almost ideally suited to prolong
life. A mouse whose life is measured in months in the wild can survive
years of captivity.-http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov...

The second reason I believe it is false to say that animals are better off in the wild is because humans have a tendency to humanize animals. We ascribe to them our own thought process and emotional strata. I agree that animals can certainly think and certainly feel but I believe it is a mistake to humanize them too much. I have heard before that animals long to be free. My opponent did not out right say this but I believe that was the implication in her second argument. I just don't believe this is the case. I believe that the need to be free is a concept that human minds can conceive of, but not animals. I don't believe that animals know what it is to be free, I don't believe they can conceptualize it. I think that many animals would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a built habitat in a zoo and the real one in the wild. Animals live longer in zoos and lack the ability to be sad about being there.

My opponent also contends that animal interaction is not always common in zoos. I have no evidence to back up what I'm about to say other than my observations but I will say that I have been to three zoos in my life, the San Diego zoo once, the Detroit zoo at least twice a year every year for the past twelve years and the Toledo zoo many times but I'm not comfortable setting an exact number. In all these visits to zoos I have never seen a lone animal. There has never been just one elephant by himself or one tiger roaming about. I have always seen at least pairs and usually more than that. So I can't accept the argument that animal interaction is not common in zoos. I will not state that it never happens, but my point remains that when it does happen it is an uncommon occurence.

I look forward to my opponents response and I urge you to vote con.
untitled_entity

Pro

* I will give my opponent the credit that there may be a licensed zoologist on staff but it is irrational to speak to the zoologist being able to provide consistently accurate care all the time. Inhumane practices occur often in a zoo, water doesn't always get changed, feces are not always cleaned and some times Animals are not fed the right food, or the right amount, whether or not this is the faul of the zoologist remains to be seen. Anybody can implement a standar or a rule or a law but all too often it happens when someone does not abide by these guidelines and it is very, almost often plausible that this occurs in a Zoo. Zoos can be defunct and mismanaged and are still not shut down, instances occur everyday that spout irresponsiblity towards the care of the animals in a zoo and the government agencies are not always there to ensure that these situations are rectified.

* If indeed animals do live longer in captivity we must measure their quality of life after living in a zoo. Do they have necessary interaction, are they properly stimulated throughout the day etc. Though this is a hard thing to gauge we, the humans must be responsible for the 'feelings' if you will of the animal. I'm not some animal rights activist or whatever but I will say that animals do have the mental capacity to feel and due to the fact that they do not walk on four legs or are able to verbalize their wishes we must do whatever necessary to make their quality of life better though I disagree that this occurs in a zoo.
Debate Round No. 2
MrMarkP37

Con

MrMarkP37 forfeited this round.
untitled_entity

Pro

Seeing as MrMark failed to repost I urge a an affirmative ballot.
Debate Round No. 3
MrMarkP37

Con

Many apologies for missing the last round. I've been having internet problems and could not get on to post.
I agree that it is possible that there might be some zoos in the country that fail to live up to the standards that the government has set out. However, the question up for debate is not if every zoo in the United States provides a humane enviornment for animals. It is the greater question as to whether or not the practice of putting animals in zoos is humane or not. I have stated that I believe it is humane because it prolongs their lives, provides them with more than enough for them to not only survive but thrive.

I equate animals living in a zoo with humans living in a city or suburb. If humans were given the chance to live on a deserted island they would be able to make their own laws, they wouldn't be imprisoned by the laws of society. However, they would also have to scavange for their own food, find clean water on their own and live without television, phones, computers and many of the other modern conviences we've grown used to. In a city we have all these conviences and the trade off is that we must follow the rules of society and participate in the social contract. I think that is a fair trade off and I believe that for the animals living in captivity it is a fair trade off to have their lives more comfortable.
untitled_entity

Pro

I equate animals living in a zoo with humans living in a city or suburb. If humans were given the chance to live on a deserted island they would be able to make their own laws, they wouldn't be imprisoned by the laws of society. However, they would also have to scavange for their own food, find clean water on their own and live without television, phones, computers and many of the other modern conviences we've grown used to. In a city we have all these conviences and the trade off is that we must follow the rules of society and participate in the social contract. I think that is a fair trade off and I believe that for the animals living in captivity it is a fair trade off to have their lives more comfortable.

Not to worry MrMark, thanks for coming back promptly :)

"It is the greater question as to whether or not the practice of putting animals in zoos is humane or not." (thank you for clarifying) The practice of putting animals in a zoo can often be inhumane as noted in my following - Although zoos
claim to educate people and preserve species, many zoos do neither. Most zoo enclosures are quite small, and labels provide little information. Visitors are more interested in entertainment, often at the expense of the animals, than in educating themselves.

The purpose of most zoos' research is to find ways to breed and maintain more animals and to increase their numbers. However, many of the animals housed in zoos are not endangered at all, nor are they being prepared for release into natural habitats. Zoos are full of animals that are commonly seen - such as mongooses, peacocks, wolves and ducks. Animals that could be released into wild, creating more space for endangered animals in the zoo. Research carried out by scientists show that animals are psychologically affected by the lack of space and the constant intrusion of people. The miserable living conditions in zoos and the lack of privacy often lead to animals indulging in abnormal behaviour known as 'zoochosis'. They bang their heads against the wall, bite cage bars and even bite their own limbs!
"More than 60% of the animals in zoos have marks on their heads because of continuously banging their heads against the bar" says Indian animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi. India has 64 fairly large zoos and another 194 are medium sized zoos. Statistics show that in all these zoos some 10-15 percent animals die every year.

I apologize MrMark but I do not agree with your metaphor and I kind of think you are trying to compare apples and oranges. First of all, not to argue aspects irresolute but a city or a suburb has thousands of people with open space and many developments, zoos are not the same. By the same token, if a zoo released most of its animals into a nature habitat or back into its real habitat the zoo would have space for animals who need to be in zoos, the endangered ones. In addition, I doubt that there would be humans who would be openingly willing to go live on a deserted island - just as animals generally do not want to go live in a zoo.

Though the intentions of zoo keepers and zoo owners are often wholesome and utilitarian they often do not pan out that way.
Debate Round No. 4
MrMarkP37

Con

I'm not sure how zoos are run in Inida but I assume that they aren't subject to the laws that U.S. zoos are. I am not here to say that zoos are perfect places. I'm sure that there are some psychological effects to animals that live in zoos. However, imagine the psychological effects of having to fend for your life day in and day out. What if you were stalked by, not one, but several people that all wanted to kill you. There would be things that you could do to protect yourself but you'd always have to be on edge, you'd always be looking over your shoulder. I would assume that over the course of a few years this would become very pscyhologically distressing.

My main point is that being an animal isn't a picnic. Being a human being has its downsides as well as I'm sure we are all aware. That being said, my thesis is that I don't believe an animal's quality of life diminishes so greatly by being put in a zoo that you could call it inhumane. Zoos are not perfect places and there are downsides to putting animals in a zoo, but there are downsides to leaving animals in the wild as well and if you call putting animals in a zoo inhumane, then I guess their entire existance would have to be labeled as such.

I urge a vote on Con on this issue and I would like to thank my opponent for her clear and well argued points. Thank you for a lively debate.
untitled_entity

Pro

Zoos on a whole are subject to the same laws, generally all the way around... But moot point.

Though a zoo may provide some benefits to an animal I will still continue to argue that it is not substantial enough to wish to put every animal species in a zoo.

I would like to take my opponents point of the stalking and say that yes, this is a possibility. However, I must say that zoos would be much better served if they removed most of the species that they have and replace them with endangered ones as those are the ones that need the saving.

Instead of funnelling money into zoos, money should be redirected to wild animal conservation. For example the money could be better spent:

-Establishing protected reserves

-Funding anti-poaching patrols

-Educating people about wildlife and the need for conservation

-Lobbying for legislation to protect wildlife (from poachers and habitat destruction)

If you visit zoos you are contributing to this suffering. Today's wildlife programmes can give viewers a much greater understanding and appreciation of these animals than zoos ever could. If you truly care about animals and conservation turn on the T.V and make a donation to one of the many wildlife charities working to save animals in the wild.

If the possibility of re-introduction of the species into the wild is a farce, then zoos only exist to preserve those species in captivity. Keeping animals in zoos harms them, by denying them freedom to carry out their lives naturally. While humans may feel that there is some justifying benefit to their captivity, there is no compensating benefit to the individual animals. Should a handful of individual animals be forced to live out life sentences just so humans can simply satisfy their curiosity?

I thank MrMark for actually sticking around for the whole debate and picking a great topic. I would also like to thank him for clear, concise arguments.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Alex 8 years ago
Alex
Did i read that comment correctly?

Animals arent living things?

lol?
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
Animals aren't living things.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
It addresses, I-am-a-panda's comment.
Posted by untitled_entity 8 years ago
untitled_entity
I beg your pardon, Puck.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
Wait...humans killed the dinosaurs? *gasps* You creationist, jesus petting raptors, fanboy you.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
"It is also insolated from the dangers that are ever present in the wild". Apart from the spelling mistake, It is easy to argue (even if a creationist or evolutionist) that the wild has served animals fine for thousands of years and it wasn't until human intervention that animals died out.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Alex 8 years ago
Alex
MrMarkP37untitled_entityTied
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MrMarkP37
MrMarkP37untitled_entityTied
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MrMarkP37untitled_entityTied
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untitled_entity
MrMarkP37untitled_entityTied
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