The Instigator
mangolife23
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Sam7411
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points

Should animals be kept in zoos/aquariums?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Sam7411
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 960 times Debate No: 89124
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

mangolife23

Con

This debate is about whether we should be keeping animals in zoos and aquariums. I will be arguing that we should not. My opponent should be arguing that we should. We will start with our opening arguments next round. Good luck and thank you!
Sam7411

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
mangolife23

Con

Zoos claim to be good for many things, but they do more harm than good overall. Many of the things zoos claim to do could be done better in different ways without caging animals up.

1. They do not educate people well, despite what they claim. Most people just look at the animals in zoos as entertainment.

2. Very few of the animals in zoos are actually endangered. And even less of those endangered animals are actually helped by those programs. Only 12% of all the zoos in the world are actually registered for captive breeding or wildlife conservation.

3. Zoos are dangerous for animals and humans. Many animals in zoos present with forms of depression and psychosis. They also display self mutilation such as the orcas at seaworld gnawing at the side of their pool and wearing their teeth down to nubs. Most of the zoos in the world are not prestigious institutions, they are roadside zoos or entertainment hubs that only care about using the animals for their personal gain. This awful behavior is displayed in books like 'The One and Only Ivan.'
Sam7411

Pro

Zoos are are valuable for public education, awareness, and scientific research. Zoos allow humans to connect and learn about animals through a personal level.F or an example to outline the good of zoos, I will be using the Saint Louis Zoo as well as other institutions.

1. Many children, as well as adults, visit zoos through field trips formal classes, workshops, tours, outreach programs, camps, lectures etc. To understand this impact lets look at the The Saint Louis zoo:

"At the Saint Louis Zoo, about 400,000 children and adults participate in our formal programs, including classes and Camp KangaZoo each year. And of our 3,000,000 visitors annually, about 1,900,000 interact with an educational interpreter, docent or zookeeper who provides educational experiences and information. Each year the Zoo is visited by over 1,400 school groups who come for a free field trip. Of these schoolchildren, 31% are from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and 17% are special needs children."[1]

Zoos can also provide an education far beyond the confines of a classroom, since it allows children (and adults) to be physically awed and inspired by many magnificent creatures. Not only is the learning in the outside world and active, but it gives students greater appreciation of the natural world.[2]

2. The rates of animal extinction and endangernment through human acticity grows increasingly alarming everyday. This is a mostly undisputed fact. According to the Center for Bilogical Diversity:

"Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day,with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century n fact, 99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming."

Zoos can slow the rate of extinction because it allows researchers to analyze the behaviors of animals in their enviroments without expensive expeditions into the wild. This information is valuable to park rangers, nature documentaries, field researchers etc. because of increased understanding on behavior, reproductive biology, nutrition, animal health and genetics.[4]

3. Zoos around the world are leaders in encouraging the safety and protection of animals and wildlife. Man zoos set up insituitons and fundations that work throughout the world to save wild life, beyond just the valuable research they provide. For example, the Saint Louis Zoo "has set up the WildCare Institute to work in conservation hotspots locally and around the globe."

4. Of course incidents occur in any facility and intitution, but zoos have taken strides to increase human and wildlife safety.


"Particularly, those facilities and the individuals employed by them that aspire to the ideals, ethics and ever-increasing standards of animal care and behavioral training represented by organizations such as the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to name a few."


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Also, I would appreciate if you evidence/citations to support your claims.
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[1]http://www.stlzoo.org...
[2]http://clearingmagazine.org...
[3]http://www.biologicaldiversity.org...
[4],[5]http://www.stlzoo.org...
[6] http://awesomeocean.com...
Debate Round No. 2
mangolife23

Con

In a British study, 59% of children at the zoo had no positive educational outcomes at a zoo. That number rose to 66% without a guide. In another study, 62% of children had no positive outcome or a negative outcome. One of the researchers for the British study said: "In many cases, a trip to the zoo had a negative impact on the children"s understanding of animals and habitats." Showing children animals in zoos simply teaches them that animals are ours to control. It sets a very bad example. Think of the last time you went to the zoo. Don"t lie. You probably didn"t learn very much. Sure, you may have read some of the plaques, but more likely you just considered the animals as entertainment. You may have laughed as the otters or seals swam in endless circles in there small pools, or gotten excited when the lion finally paced past the glass where you are standing. But you also may have rolled your eyes and walked right by the bear exhibit when you saw that the polar bears were sleeping (booooring, right?) But you may not have realized that they were sleeping because their body is not meant for the hot climate where you may live.

People can get a lot more educated by simply watching a nature documentary. In this they will see the animals acting normally, and they will see them in their natural habitat. When you see an animal in a zoo you are not seeing them as they would be in the wild. You are seeing a miserable institutionalized animal that is being exploited for entertainment.

As I said before, only 12% of zoos are registered for captive breeding or wildlife conservation. One activist pointed out that "Wild animal parks and zoos almost always favor large and charismatic animals." The fact remains that most animals in zoos are not endangered.

Some examples include: Kangaroos, llamas, ostriches, capybaras, emus, black bears, moose, deer, beluga whales, lions, and giraffes. And if we are specifically talking about Seaworld, well, there is no data on whether or not orcas are endangered. So they cannot use that as an excuse.

Human activities that cause pollution, climate change, and the destruction of habitats are not helped by the captive breeding programs, although these problems threaten more than 7000 species. There is no point breeding animals in captivity when one, they cannot be released into the wild because of behavioral issues since they were born in captivity, and two, they have no habitats to go back to. We need to end animal prisons and start raising awareness for the habitat loss that kills millions of animals.

If zoos wanted to encourage the safety of wildlife, they should leave them in the wild where they are happy. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

"zoos have taken strides to increase human and wildlife safety."

This supports nothing. Strides means nothing to the animals currently suffering in zoos. Up to 10,000 animals are killed for no reason in European zoos. That does not sound like wildlife safety to me.

And people can talk about education, conservation, and awareness, but the fact is that most zoos are not well respected institutions. They are roadside zoos or entertainment hubs that are NOT non-profit and strive to exploit these animals for their "cuteness". It is cruel and inhumane.

Sources for the whole debate:

sis.sirs.com/cgi-bin/hst-article-display?id=ST33-0-87&artho=0000376817&type=ART

www.animalethics.org.uk/zoos.html

sputniknews.com

PETA.org
Sam7411

Pro

Sorry for the overuse of qoutes brevity and late timing. I have an unexpected on demand essay to finish by midnight.



1. One of your main arguments against zoo/aquariums is that most are for-profit and basically roadside attractions. I obviously recognize that many of these side zoos/aquariums practice animal cruelty, which is definetley illegal. However, you can't deny an institution that has the ability to conserve, educate and protect animals because others exploit the system. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of zoos/aquariums have properly accredited under organizations such as the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America,etc, and who serve millions of people, not just towns, childrens birthday parties. Work should be done to encourage improvement, not discourage zoos because their are exploitations.

2. It is impossible to measure the certain magnitude of which people learn when visiting a zoo. This is because some of the public may visit for purely entertaimment, many students and adults paticipate in wide varities of learning acitvities. Saint Louis is a prime example:

"At the Saint Louis Zoo, about 400,000 children and adults participate in our formal programs, including classes and Camp KangaZoo each year. And of our 3,000,000 visitors annually, about 1,900,000 interact with an educational interpreter, docent or zookeeper who provides educational experiences and information. Each year the Zoo is visited by over 1,400 school groups who come for a free field trip. Of these schoolchildren, 31% are from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and 17% are special needs children."[1]http://www.stlzoo.org......

Zoos have a uniqe ability to educate the public, with over 600 million visitors a year.

"The chance to see real animals close up can evoke an emotional response, allowing people to attach values to animals, making them aware of the biodiversity crisis, as well as teaching and motivating people (Ballantyne and Packer, 2005; Gwyne, 2007; Fa, Funk and O’Connell, 2011; Rabb and Saunders, 2005). Within this mission, zoos provide an experience which is also recreational but which can inspire cognitive learning, long-term positive attitudes and behaviour change (Broad and Weiler, 1998). provides an opportunity for families to learn in a more relaxed environment, often limited elsewhere (Briseno, Anderson and Anderson, 2007)"
http://www.iccs.org.uk...

Some authors believe that education is more challenging when distracted by entertainment. However studies have shown that many students tend to learn in positive and active enviroments such as zoos.

3 Zoos are actually vital to conservation of animals.

"A species protected in captivity provides a reservoir population against a population crash or extinction in the wild. Here they are relatively safe and can be bred up to provide foundation populations. A good number of species only exist in captivity and still more only exist in the wild because they have been reintroduced from zoos, or the wild populations have been boosted by captive bred animals. Quite simply without these efforts there would be fewer species alive today and ecosystems and the world as a whole would be poorer for it. Although reintroduction successes are few and far between, the numbers are increasing and the very fact that species have been saved or reintroduced as a result of captive breeding shows their value. Even apparently non-threatened species and entire groups can be threatened suddenly (as seen with white nose syndrome in bats and the Chytridiomycosisfungus in amphibians) it’s not just pandas and rhinos that are under threat."
https://www.theguardian.com...



Debate Round No. 3
mangolife23

Con

Every time you go to the zoo, you can see how much people are learning. As the spend a few seconds at each exhibit and often taunt the animals for entertainment. Of course, some people do not do this. But that doesn't make it any better. The fact remains, that no matter what zoos do in education or conservation (although they do not do much) they are torture for animals. For example, let's think about elephants. Elephants walk up to 30 miles a day in the wild. It is simply impossible to replicate their habitat in a zoo setting. And it is not natural or safe for them to be in zoos. Zoo animals show the public exactly how they are mentally tortured. You can see it in the way monkeys at zoos sway back and forth (zoochosis) or the way the lion or tiger paces for hours on end. You can see it in the collapsed fins and worn down teeth of the animals at Seaworld. It is simply /not ethical/ to do this to animals. And while a tree frog might not mind living in a zoo, you can bet a tiger hates every second. And let's not forget the endless visitors, camera flashes, and screaming children. It is no way to live.

And let's not forget that even in the best zoos, animals do not live happy enriched lives. They live slightly better lives than the ones in roadside zoos. But not by much.

I have fond memories of zoos, most people do. I remember when I was in a zoo camp and they let me make a salad for the giant tortoise and I got to go into the enclosure with these huge creatures. That was amazing. But I also remember crying as my parents took me to visit the tiger because it was just pacing. Back and forth, all day long. It broke my heart.

And as for conservation, you said it yourself. Few species are successfully reintroduced. And yes, animals can "become threatened" but that is definitely not a valid reason to keep them caged up. Giraffes shouldn't be held in small cages because there is a small chance they might become endangered. It is, well, crazy! And let's not forget my other statistic I said, only 12% of zoos are actually registered for conservation.

"is it ethical for animals to suffer for the 'good' of their species?"

Well, would you stay locked in a small cage for the good of the human race? I doubt it.

http://www.peta.org...
Sam7411

Pro

I admit the zoos aren't the ideal situation for animals. Some may be kept in cruel and unfortunate cages and concrete slabs. One of your main arguments are that since some animals are mistreated and suffer from mental illness, animals should not be kept in zoos. This disregards not only the potential of zoos to raise awareness, engage the public, increase research, and conserve species, but the strides that many credited, and the most popular and visited, zoos have made. These facilities have teams of experts who analyze the mental state of the animals, massive facilities that are perfectly adequate for animals to roam, and can use these efforts to conserve species world wide. These zoos conform to the AZA standards that enforce strict animal safety. It is true that only 12% of zoos contribute/registered directly to conservation, but many zoos cannot afford to pay for such programs. Instead, the zoos engage the public in learning and interacting with animals on a physical, if not personal, level, which in turn raises appreciation of animals and the therefore an increased effort towards conservation.
In the zoos that can afford to be involved in conservation programs, progress has been notable:

"Most zoos are not only great places to get up close to wildlife, but many are also doing their part to bolster dwindling populations of animals still living free in the wild. To wit, dozens of zoos across North America participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA’s) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, which aims to manage the breeding of specific endangered species in order to help maintain healthy and self-sustaining populations that are both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

The end goal of many SSPs is the reintroduction of captive-raised endangered species into their native wild habitats. According to the AZA, SSPs and related programs have helped bring black-footed ferrets, California condors, red wolves and several other endangered species back from the brink of extinction over the last three decades. Zoos also use SSPs as research tools to better understand wildlife biology and population dynamics, and to raise awareness and funds to support field projects and habitat protection for specific species. AZA now administers some 113 different SSPs covering 181 individual species."[1]

There is no doubt that zoos can and do provide valuable researchs and insights into animals, inspire the public to learn about and care for animals, and ensure the survival of species. And the number of zoos that do this grow incresingly everyday. Why do we discourage zoos when the have this potential and the safety and understanding of animals increase everyday?

To put this in perspective, I'll detail I quick scenario that happens in the world today. China is the world's leading producer of rare earth metals, with an estimate of 90% of world production, and enforce a strict monopoly. Now, American mining companies have started up with rare earth metals. Some of the mines were shut down for safety/enviromental reasons. However, some mines maintain safe circumstances and are actually more efficient than some Chinese facilities through progress and are slowly but surely lessening the monpoloy. The question is, do we abandon the mines because many mines fail without the proper circumstances, or invest in what can and is beneficial to further increase its abilities to progress and avoid the shut down of an industry?[2]




[1]http://www.scientificamerican.com...
[2]https://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by mangolife23 10 months ago
mangolife23
@Overhead I respect your opinion. However, the point I was making was that though some zoos help (minimally) in education and conservation, the cons highly outweigh the pros. But if you believe in the mistreatment of animals, that's your deal I guess so whatever.
Posted by Overhead 10 months ago
Overhead
Hard debate to judge.

Three main points are raised in R2 that are discussed throughout the debate. Education, conservation and harm to animals.

Despite CON bringing them up, CON seems to accept that education and conservation are advantages which do exist. Presumably CON expected PRO to bring these points up and wanted to pre-empt them by minimising their positive output. For instance he states that "only 12% of zoos are registered for captive breeding or wildlife conservation". While this seems to show that only 12% of zoos are having a positive impact on terms of conservation, it's still a positive impact that CON admits to. Similar occurs with education.

Similarly, PRO seems to cede harm to animals to CON, stating by R4 "I admit the zoos aren't the ideal situation for animals. Some may be kept in cruel and unfortunate cages and concrete slabs." Of course he has made earlier attempts to minimise this negative, but he still cedes that this negative does occur.

Neither makes a case for the negatives outweighing the benefits or vice versa, instead just talking about these individual characteristics without linking them to the debate topic with an overall analysis of whether zoos were harmful/ helpful and should therefore be gotten rid of/kept. This makes it hard to judge who won as they fail to clearly link to the topic, but on the basis that CON effectively ceded 2 points while PRO only ceded one and neither side made an argument for any one point being more important, I therefore give it to PRO.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 10 months ago
TUF
mangolife23Sam7411Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Mc_EhEpOZIRBRBxhoF6Z3cm-GubZp9sBK0VgEIHDhKU/edit?usp=sharing
Vote Placed by Overhead 10 months ago
Overhead
mangolife23Sam7411Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: See comments
Vote Placed by Wylted 10 months ago
Wylted
mangolife23Sam7411Tied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had to be reminded to use citations, and then when reminded, still did a sloppy job with them. Instead of citing a page website, he would site the whole website for example, some of the facts I couldn't chase down in the citations at all. Pro cited every fact, and did it in a way that made it easy to track down the inforion