The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Team Debate: All Animals Should be released from zoos

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/23/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,187 times Debate No: 81376
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Resolution: All Animals Should be Released From Zoos

This is a team debate. Famousdebater and TheProphett will be going up against Lee001 and SolonKR.


1. No semantics. Each debater should interpret the words of the resolution as stated in the definitions provided.

2. The burden of proof is shared.
3. Opening round is acceptance only. Anything else will result in a violation of these rules, and will be taken into account during voting.
4. Any footnotes/endnotes or citations should be presented in the text of your argument, not anywhere else.
5. No forfeiting of any rounds, unless approved by both parties (Pro and Con)
6. No new arguments in the final round.
7. Maintain a civil and calm discourse.
8. No "kritiks" of the topic (or any other kritiks)
9. My opponent accepts all definitions and waives his/her right to add resolutional definitions
10. For all undefined terms, individuals should use commonplace understanding of them that fit within the logical context of the debate.
11. Failure to meet any of these specified rules will be taken into account during the voting period.


Should: Indicates moral desirability

Released: Returned to the wild

Animals: a living organism which feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli [excluding humans and bacterial life -- animals that are commonly kept in zoos].

Since R1 is acceptance we will be beginning the debate. Remember that failure to abide by the rules will result in the automatic forfeiture of the conduct point and possibly other points if this lack of arguments puts one side at a disadvantage.


We accept.
Debate Round No. 1



Thank you Solon and Lee for undertaking this debate with us! We think that it will prove to be very exciting, and a learning process for both of us. Team Debates are an excellent way to improve strategy and look at things through different perspectives. Good luck, and may the best debater(s) win!

Contention 1 - Endangered Animals:

Throughout the world, more and more species are coming under a constant threat . Whether it may be from climate change, human hunting, or predatory overpopulation, the list of endangered species is growing larger. If intense recovery efforts are not put into place throughout the world, we risk the danger of many species becoming extinct/endangered. Zoos are an increasingly viable option in the preservation of animal species around the globe. Under the watchful eye of scientists and veterinarians who are experts in animal species, animals with a decreasing population can be rehabilitated in a safe environment. An example of a working measure to rehabilitate endangered species is the (2) Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Dozens of Zoos across North America are joining the efforts of AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP). In the past three decades, the SSP has been able to bring back dwindling populations of: black-footed ferrets, Californian Condors, red wolves, and several other species. Not only does this system preserve animal populations, but it also starts a resurging movement within their species. Another benefit of having dwindling populations preserved in zoos is that scientists are able to use the SSP as a research tool to understand the biology and populatory dynamics of endangered animal species. Utilizing this hard evidence, scientists can effectively use this data to ensure the survivability of these species for decades to come, by breeding them in safe environments and protecting them from unnatural hazards. Using zoos as a staging ground, endangered species can be brought from the brink and made a thriving population.

Contention 2 - Habitat

Some, if not most animals are born and raised in zoos. Releasing them into the wild could be potentially catastrophic since they do not know how to hunt for their own food and survive in the wild. The animals in zoos require the aid of zoos to live in and without them they have no skills to survive in the wild (3) .By releasing animals from zoos you are ultimately sentencing masses of animals to their deaths - on a global scale! Since the resolution states the word: ‘all’, this means that we are not just talking about zoos in the UK and America, we are talking about zoos all over the world. Zoos are essential and some of the world’s best best zoos.

“ The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is sporting some big attractions. The zoo fills up their 210-acre space with one of the largest exotic tree collections, a massive aquarium and hundreds of different animal species. Its breeding programs and research have been so successful that almost all the animals in the zoo were born on the grounds.”

This proves that we cannot simply release all animals to their natural habitat, they do not know anywhere other than the zoo (4) . To conclude this contention, I have demonstrated that releasing all animals to their natural habitat is not a good idea and would be mass slaughter of all endangered, injured

Contention 3 - Education

School children are naturally curious about animals (5) and see them everywhere in their daily lives, and an opportunity to go to the zoo and see them up close is an amazing experience for them. With this opportunity, they learn about animals and endangered species. Zoos have added signs to most places (6) where animals are located in order to inform people about them too, including their natural habitat, how many there still are in the world, what they eat, and so on (6). Not only school children, but everyone can be informed about animals at zoos, as they raise awareness towards important issues about animals and some good zoos tell us what we can do to help (5).

Contention 4 - Economy

It has been revealed that American zoos and aquariums contribute $16 billion (7) annually! This the economic impact that zoos bring to America annually. This money is used to help in a number of ways by the American government and a percentage of this money made goes to help improve the zoos quality and helps to keep endangered animals protected. As well as the money related economic impacts, zoos also create jobs for the population. In America alone, zoos have created 142,000 jobs for people. If you propose that we release all animals from zoos then you must also be proposing that we get rid of all these workers. Whilst it is true that some of them may get jobs elsewhere, some of these workers will evidently be rendered unemployed, with no source of income. 5.5% of the USA are unemployed (8)! The US has roughly 320 million citizens (10). If you work out how much 5.5% of that is you will get the approximate answer of 17 million (9) US citizens (If jobs were easy to find then there wouldn’t be 17 million unemployed. By making the decision to release all animals from zoos, you are effectively making the decision to not only wipe out endangered species but you are also sentencing the government to bankruptcy and the workers to unemployment.


In all of our arguments we have written, we have discussed and provided tangible evidence as to why our arguments are sound and can be proven with empirical evidence. We are looking forward to reading your contentions and thank you once again for undertaking this debate with us, and we now hand it over to you.



Pro’s Opening Argument

We will argue that it is morally desirable that animals be released from zoos, because zoos harm the overall well-being of both animals and humans.

Contention 1: Zoos create unhappiness in animals

Zoos do not adequately take care of animals, and are immoral due to the harm they cause.

In order for animals to be taken care of, they must be fed and watered regularly, have their cages cleaned out to prevent respiratory infections, and have regular checkups to ensure their well-being. Also, if socialization is not provided, animals can become depressed, and sometimes, being secluded can result in [2] neurotic behaviors like incessantly spinning in circles, rocking back and forth, trichotillomania, and biting their own skin.

[1] In 2010, a CAPS (Captive Animals Protection Society) undercover investigator filmed sick animals left untreated and dead animals left to rot on floors at Tweddle Farm Zoo. CAPS had to take rabbits to a vet to have infections treated, and after their expose, local police confiscated a monkey who had been kept alone and given cake and other junk food to eat. It is dangerous to feed human food to mammals. Many foods can be dangerous to animals, as their body can’t digest human food properly.

Letting captive animals remain sick rather than treating them makes them unhappy and is thus immoral. As well, there is a risk of getting other animals sick in that enclosure.

Not only are animals killed by neglect, but also by outright slaughter. [1] A CAPS study found that at least 7,500 animals – and possibly as many as 200,000 – in European zoos are ‘surplus’ at any one time. When these animals are no longer needed, they should be released back into the wild. Killing them robs them of potential happiness. [1] Animals are regularly ‘culled’ in UK zoos. In 2006, a whole pack of wolves at Highland Wildlife Park were killed after the social structure of the pack had broken down. In 2005, two wolf cubs and an adult female were shot dead at Dartmoor Wildlife Park. The vet reported: “Selective cull due to overcrowding and fighting in the pack” and “Further cull of cubs needed”. In 2001 a DEFRA zoo inspection of Dartmoor Wildlife Park in October 2001 found that “several significant dead animals” were stored in a food freezer “for taxidermy in the future”. Morally, a distinction must be made between killing animals and allowing them to die or go extinct. Killing animals is inherently depriving them of a right to live, while allowing them to die allows nature to run its natural course. Allowing extinction is not amoral, because to suppose that extinction harms animals is to suggest that animals that do not yet exist have any rights, akin to the “potential future persons” argument against abortion.

[3] Zoos aren't the natural habitat of the animals, so therefore they cannot have a natural life. Recent studies show the artificial captive environment can generate intrinsic animal welfare problems such as abnormal behaviors such as self-mutilation; feeding disorders; and stereotypical behavior (e.g. pacing, neck twisting, or rocking). They also create problems such as reproductive disorders and physiological imbalances. A polar bear in the Dublin zoo was moved because of signs of stress and boredom. This magnificent animal had nothing to do but walk from one side of the enclosure to the other (pacing); it was eventually moved to the Czech Republic to a much larger enclosure.

There are plenty of alternatives to having animals in zoos.

In this day and age there are many different ways to learn about animals, apart from going to a zoo. Television is the best medium for this. There are documentaries such as The Life of Animals and The Blue Planet. These documentaries enable observation of animals in their natural habitats. Many other means to view and learn about these animals are on the Internet. People can interact and play educational games on the BBC's web sites -- they have a great deal of information about many kinds of animals. That’s a better alternative to removing animals from their natural habitat.

There is no difference between watching an animal on T.V, and watching an animal through a fence. Observers cannot physically touch them either way. Watching documentaries and shows are also safer, as many zoo incidents have happened, and unfortunately, people have died.

[3] Zoos seem to be friendly environments, but, since 1990, 42 people have been killed and 100 others injured by elephants worldwide in zoos. In the year 2000, more than 400 rhesus macaques (monkey) -- found to be carrying herpes B -- were required to be shot in UK zoos. Although not lethal to the monkeys, herpes B can be fatal to humans. In the last two years, 13 people in the UK have contracted salmonella from pet reptiles. In some way, these facts prove that animals shouldn't be kept in zoos because they carry diseases that can't harm themselves but can kill humans.

Zoos make animals unhappy, and are thus immoral.





Contention 2: Zoos are, on balance, harmful to the well-being of human society
Zoos are no more beneficial to humans than to animals. In order to understand the extent to which zoos damage human society, one must understand opportunity cost (OC). In economic theory, OC refers to the fact that, whenever something is done, there is a cost in what could have been done instead. For example, if one has to decide between doing homework and playing with friends, and chooses to play, his OC is the homework that he gave up on to play. Zoos incur a high monetary OC; the money spent to maintain zoos could be much better spent in other ways.

Point 1: Zoos are neither efficient nor cost-effective in achieving positive societal goals
The Association of American Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) states that zoos and aquariums contribute $16 billion to the U.S. economy. While that sounds great, there’s a catch. That $16 billion is used, in the association’s own words, for reaching these goals: “science education and wildlife conservation, [generating] jobs and [supporting] local communities” (A). Let us examine the relative importance of these goals. First, note that the type of science that zoos typically educate about is biology, especially pertaining to animals. The summer camp at the San Diego Zoo, for instance, advertises “Explore the wonderful world of animals” (D). This sort of education is less useful and less cost effective to emphasize than other fields. According to BLS data, only about 1,000,000 people in the US are employed in biological, animal-related fields, and that’s with a liberal interpretation that includes biological engineering and environmental jobs. That’s not to say that biological jobs as a whole are unimportant, but, again, zoos emphasize instruction revolving around animals. It would be much more practical if the education efforts were devoted to a field like math; accountants alone are much more employable and relevant in today’s society than the entire animal-related field (C). Furthermore, there is not much evidence to support the notion that zoo science initiatives contribute anything meaningful to the lives of children in the first place, other than fun. Zoo science initiatives are a waste of money. The support of “wildlife conservation”, shown in C1 to not benefit animals, does not benefit humans either. This will be proven by later analysis of the opportunity costs. We concede that zoos do create jobs and support local communities, but there are many other businesses which would create greater societal benefits along with those jobs, and there is little evidence that supporting “local communities” is important. Any benefits of a zoo to humanity are minimal at best. It is true that zoo-goers do derive positive enjoyment from their trip, as that is what incentivizes the payment of admission, but several zoos receive funding from states (E), and the benefit to zoo-goers is not enough, because...

Point 2: Money spent on zoos would be more beneficial to society if spent elsewhere; therefore, maintenance of and payment to zoos is immoral
Spending by people and government on zoos is difficult to estimate. According again to the AZA, the contributions of zoos and aquariums to the economy are “$16.0 billion in economic activity (contribution to GDP) . . . $4.7 billion in personal earnings (salaries and wages) . . . 142,000 jobs.” (A). While this includes aquariums, it is decent enough to frame an estimate--we shall say that about half ($8 billion in economic activity, 71,000 jobs) of it comes from zoos. That money could be better spent in contribution to necessary public goods. If the money spent on zoos were spent on public infrastructure, for example, it would increase federal contributions to infrastructure by more than 8% (F). This would create approximately 173,000 jobs, using an estimate from Duke University, help to put a dent in $200 billion of economic loss from decaying infrastructure, and support American manufacturing jobs (G, page 12). Employment is one of the most important factors when calculating effects on happiness of humans, as it is what provides people in most countries with a means to attain happiness. The money would be more effectively spent in infrastructure than in zoos, so it is morally desirable that we shut down zoos, release the animals to stop wasting money on them, and spend the money on public infrastructure instead.


Debate Round No. 2



Throughout the opposing team’s arguments, I often found them riddled with veiled attempts to provide rebuttals in the opening round, which is restricted in the rules stated in the first round. If these rules are not to be abided by, then the voters should take into consideration the violation of conduct. Secondly, the second contention failed to provide much substance to support their side of the resolution, and the claims they made were derogatory and degrading towards education and the preservation of species, which benefits the world and humanity as a whole.

Rebuttal 1: Zoos create unhappiness in animals

My opponent begins their arguments by showing that animals can become depressed in circumstances where socialization isn’t provided. Whilst their sources may be reliable my opponent must remember that this argument is severely mitigated due to the fact that we are arguing that all animals should be freed from zoos, not just the badly treated ones. My opponent has also failed to provide examples of when this happens. This is problematic because it doesn’t tell us vital information regarding the debate. It doesn’t tell us how often this happens. With 175,000,000 (1) visitors to zoos annually, it is evident that mistreating these animals and not being caught can be difficult. The U.S helps 1041 endangered species of animals through zoos! Do you suggest that we release all of these animals because some animals are mistreated?

Again, you have continued to use arguments that do not cover the full resolution of the debate. The word: ‘all’ doesn’t just mean badly treated animals. My opponent has shown one instance whereby animals have been mistreated in zoos. I still disagree that the animals should be released from zoos in the scenario provided. The definition (for this debate) of released is: “returned to the wild”, these animals have been mistreated and this provides an even greater need for zoos in society. Returning injured animals to the wild is a death sentence. As demonstrated in our R2 argument, many animals are born and bred in zoos. They do not know any life other than the life in a zoo. They are dependant on human intervention and if they are injured this only raises more cause for concern (2).

My opponent continues to list the possibilities of what can happen in zoos. This is very similar argument to the slippery slope argument that can be used. There is a chance of something bad happening in every circumstance. People murder. Just because they murder, should we abolish laws against murder? The same can be said for zoos. Just because in some cases bad instances occur in zoos, should we abolish all zoos? No. Zoos protect endangered animals, benefit the economy and educate children, as stated in our previous arguments. An assumption based argumentation is irrelevant in correlation to the resolution. As far as adequate treatment of animals in zoos, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (3) has animal healthcare professionals; specialists in clinical veterinary medicine, veterinary pathology, and animal nutrition, to ensure that the care of all animals is the top priority for the zoo.

Our opponents propose that documentaries about animals in the wild are superior to hands on education in zoos. This cannot always be true because, as addressed in our previous arguments, some animals are born in captivity or extracted from the wild, for reasons such as necessity based medical care or species endangerment. We cannot help species on the brink of extinction or injured animals if institutions such as zoos do not exist, because it is our duty to the world ecosystem to preserve species and help animals in need. Therefore your claim in contention to our education argument has been negated, because zoos exist out of a necessity to help endangered species, treat injured animals, and an added bonus; to educate our youth.

Rebuttal 2: Zoos are, on balance, harmful to the well-being of human society

My opponent, in the opening paragraph of the contention, brings up opportunity cost. This theory proposes the idea that for every cost incurred by one thing, the expense could have been better spent elsewhere. The opposing team tries to introduce logic as a relevant argument, but it is irrelevant. It is both logical and morally right to preserve endangered species, treat injured animals, and educate our youth. Costs will be incurred during the process (and that should be self-evident), but that should not be a deciding factor over whether or not animals should be in zoos.

In their next contention, the opposing team brings in the statistic that, “The AZA contributes 16$ billion to the U.S. economy yearly, and that goes towards science education, wildlife conservation, generating jobs, and supporting local communities.” Next, our opponents try to degrade the “relative importance” of these contributions by arguing that educating the youth about biology and animal-related fields is not effective, and efforts should be concentrated on other efforts such as math. Firstly, this claim provides little substance to their side of the resolution, and looks a lot like an attempt at a rebuttal in the opening round. Secondly, the claim attempts to suggest that educating our youth about biology and animal-related fields is, in some way, of lesser quality in comparison to another subject like math. I have no idea why the opposing team would even attempt to put forward such a claim. Limiting our youth to certain aspects of education and degrading others is absurd. Preparing our youth for the future should involve a teaching of all subjects, especially those in regard to the natural world. We would be doing our youth a disservice if we were to act otherwise. In rebuttal to your claim that zoos do not provide anything meaningful to children’s lives, we disagree. Not only do zoos provide fun, which is in fact important, but they also provide an education about the natural world. This is very important for the development of the minds of our youth.

In the opposing team’s next contention, they continue to try to downplay the self-evident positives of zoos. They bring up incurred costs again, and then go into depth trying to prove that the costs generated by zoos could be better spent on “necessary public goods.” This claim is irrelevant because helping endangered species, treating injured animals, and educating our youth are necessary public goods, if not beneficial to humanity and our global ecosystem as a whole. Seeking to downgrade youth education and endangered animal preservation is not a relevant perspective to approach the resolution. Zoos provide services that benefit the world on a larger scale than just “local communities.”


Therefore, we stand with our claims stated in our opening arguments, and we stand by our critique of the arguments put forward by the opposing team. We thank them once again for undertaking this debate with us, and we hope it will prove an educational learning experience for all parties involved. Back to you!





Because of the large overlap in our contentions between Pro and Con, we are combining our defenses and rebuttals into single entities; the first dealing with animals, habitat, and endangerment, and the second dealing with humans, education, and the economy.

Defense/Rebuttal 1:

Because animals are treated badly in zoos, their welfare is at stake. It is an impossible burden to demonstrate just how many animals are culled, as zoos are often not open about it, but it can be estimated at around ten thousand per year ( We have argued that multiple zoos do not take care of their animals, and have given multiple examples.

Con’s argument that Zoos bring in 175,000,000 visitors and that the U.S helps 1041 endangered species has nothing to do with the argument about whether or not zoo animals are taken care of properly. Regardless of its inapplicability to the resolution, Con’s argument actually works against them.The more people observe zoo animals, the more stress it puts on them, due to the noise:

[1] Anthropogenic noises heard at zoos can include... visitor noise, construction, air or road traffic, and entertainment events (concerts, fireworks). Why does this matter? Long term exposure to sound can have stress effects on health. Too much environmental noise is damaging to development and reproduction, and can have negative effects on behavior and fitness (Kight and Swaddle 2011).

Con attempts to mitigate our argument by emphasizing the word all, rather than countering with the strength of their own arguments. As Pro on this debate, it is our job to argue why we should free all zoo animals. So we have, by demonstrating the cruelty inflicted upon many zoo animals. Here are some more examples. A lady went undercover to a Virginia Zoo, and discovered horrifying things, and witnessed horrible events.

In China, abusing animals in zoos is also very common.

Con argues that returning injured or somewhat domesticated animals to the wild will kill them. This is largely true, but with all the involuntary culling, many die anyway, and the ones that live do not enjoy happy lives. As we have provided in our previous round, animals are abused in Zoos. They are killed because Zoos don’t have enough room. So, it’s safe to say that animals should remain in their natural habitat in the first place because that is where they belong. Many Zoos choose to go out into the wild, and then capture zoos. Many of them end up depressed because they are not in their natural environment, they can’t socialize and they are sometimes even separated from their other siblings or parents.

Con does not explain why it is important that zoos protect endangered animals. If anything, endangered animals are held captive in unbearable conditions, abused, not fed and become depressed quickly. They need to live in their natural environment. That is what they’re used to, and, as we have shown they also need the socialization from their natural environment. To allow their species to persist and suffer is immoral.

Con doesn’t explain how we engage in “assumption based argumentation”. As we showed previously, zoos do have veterinarians, but many don’t catch an illness in time, or just don’t treat the animal. Also as we argued, many workers noticed animals being sick, but did nothing about it.

Con ignores that documentaries are not a new concept; they have existed for years, so his argument that many animals can only be seen in captivity holds true for perhaps a handful of animals. Also, Con must prove that it is our “duty” to protect endangered animals. Thus far, he has not proved this. There is no rule in life, that it is a human’s duty to protect endangered species.



Defense/Rebuttal 2:

Con argues that logic is irrelevant to this debate. If logic is truly irrelevant, then we propose that releasing animals from zoos is moral because the Snackleporker of Vemir has ordered the color blue to happily cook dinner for everyone. Clearly, the idea that logic is irrelevant is nonsense. Con argues that it is “logically and morally right” to “preserve endangered species, treat injured animals, and educate our youth”, but has provided no reason why this is the case. We have already demonstrated that the education is irrelevant, and we have shown in our first contention that it is not worth sustaining endangered animals when they largely are suffering in zoo environments. They would be much happier if they were released and allowed to die free.

The claim that we provided veiled rebuttals in our opening round is untrue. The entire point of the second contention is that the money spent on zoos would be more helpful to society if spent elsewhere, and the only way to make a sound argument on that premise is to examine the current impacts of zoo spending. It is not unreasonable that there is overlap between the two opening arguments, because Con obviously has to examine the positive impacts of zoos to make their claims, while the nature of our contention necessitated the same thing, and we both happened to see the same ideas as important. Con does not explain how our thorough data from the BLS is without substance, so the argument that we don’t sufficiently support our claims is dropped.

Con’s rebuttal that zoo education programs are important, on the other hand, are, in fact, without substance. We have shown in our opening that other forms of education are better when it comes to creating jobs and helping the economy, which Con agrees are positive societal outcomes. Con, on the other hand, has not shown why degrading certain aspects of education is “absurd”. Certainly, most (if not all) schools do not teach courses about how deodorant is manufactured, for example, because that is useless knowledge. With few opportunities available in zoology, knowledge of different animals is useless. Con also does not explain how “fun” is important (and also does not substantiate the claim, while we have shown that money and thus employment is necessary for happiness), nor why education about the natural world is important for development of minds.

Con, again, does not substantiate their claims about education, endangered species, and injured animals. We have shown that the education zoos provide is useless, and there is no evidence provided by Con to suggest that treatment of injured animals or protection of endangered species is a “necessary public good” or that they benefit “the world”.

Con has not provided any substantive arguments with which to counter the evidence we have presented. Their rebuttals lack both relevant evidence and relevant analysis. Our arguments stand; Con's do not.
Debate Round No. 3



We would like to thank Lee and Solon for continuing the debate with us thus far, and it has proved to be a fun experience. We will now present our defense of our arguments.

Overview: We would like voters to take note of the comparison of arguments by the opposing team and the resolution. The debate topic is not about whether animals are harmed in zoos, which seems like the argument they seem desperate to cling onto, but it is about whether animals in zoos should be released into the wild. Badly treated animals can easily be moved to better and safer zoos rather than into the wild. Release into the wild would only spell disaster for animals who have been in zoos their entire lives. The only plausible solution would be to move them to zoos with greater financial resources so that they are ensured the care that every animal deserves.

On Animal Treatment

The opposing team continues to bring up claims about the deplorable conditions suffered by animals. We have supplied evidence that shows the credibility and dedication of those in charge of ensuring the health and well being of animals in zoos, and yet that information is continuously ignored by the opposition. At the Smithsonian National Zoo, there are specialists dedicated to zoological medicine, animal cognition, pathology, enrichment, and nutrition. Combining these things, veterinarians and scientists alike at the Smithsonian National Zoo are able to learn more about the animal under their care and ensure the well being and safety of those animals. (2) At the London Zoo, the Zoological Society of London ensures the "well-being and conservation" of animals by providing pathological and clinical facilities to learn more about animals and make sure that their health and safety is of the utmost importance. If the previous evidence did not suffice in explaining the adequate treatment of animals, the London Zoo staff includes veterinary specialists, pathologists, and microbiologists. "The vets maintain a comprehensive database of written and photographic clinical records, which can be used to pre-empt future illness and as a reference for vets treating animals at other zoos and in the wild." Not only do the highly qualified staff at the London Zoo work towards maintaining the health of their animals, but their discoveries and treatments go to zoos and sanctuaries around the world so that animal treatment is a highly informed subject, and animals are taken care of adequately. This is tangible, real-world evidence that the care of animals is in the hands of highly qualified specialists, and it is of the utmost importance of zoos to ensure that their animals are safe, healthy, and in a state of happiness. Zoos have room to improve, and with programs like the one established by the London Zoo, animal care methodology can be spread around the world to ensure the safety of animals and establish a healthy climate in zoos. Providing exceptional care for animals in zoos not only avoids the harms of releasing animals into the wild, but individual zoos such as the Smithsonian or London Zoo provide benefits not just limited to their specific location.

In regards to economic gains, all of our previous sources provide empirical evidence to support those claims. Zoos generate money while providing exceptional treatment for their animals, therefore we have rebutted your substance lacking assertions.

Our opponents continue to bring up the subject of animal culling. While animal culling provides a significant problem (the surplus of animals in zoos, and zoos putting them down as a solution), there are alternatives, such as transferring them to other zoos and putting them in the hands of more capable caregivers. You are just trying to use the tip of the iceberg as a significant argument; animal culling is not the sole reason animals should be released into the wild. In ALL of our arguments, we have provided tangible reasoning as to why animals should not be released from zoos, and why they are fine where they are. If you are to immediately use animal culling as a reasoning to release animals from zoos, you might as well be saying that you are not eating any other legumes because you do not like peanuts.

The rebuttal about endangered animals provided by the opposition is, in terms of this debate, irrelevant. They say that we have not provided any reasoning as to why endangered animals should be kept in zoos, yet we continue to supply evidence suggesting that medical care and veterinary treatment is the top priority of zoos around the world. Ignorance of our arguments is not the correct way to approach this debate, let alone provide resolutional significance. Another argument that the opposing team accused us of "insubstantiating" is the injured animals point. Our provision of empirical evidence that shows the renowned veterinary care and medical treatment for animals in zoos around the world shoots down this claim, and they continue to ignore our evidence and proceed blindly into the fray/

Throughout this portion of their argument, the opposing team continues to make one-sided arguments without really thinking about plausible solutions. Voters should take note of this, because not only do they provide arguments of little resolutional significance, they are just taking on the face of the topic, without delving into the intricacies of each proposed problem.

On Education

My opponent continues to claim that our arguments lack substance but fail to sufficiently justify this and I will now explain why.

My opponent begins by making a mistake that has already been disproven. They claim that there are few opportunities in zoology. Contention 4 in R1 clearly show that in America alone 142,000 jobs are created from zoos (3). This argument was not responded to and therefore it still stands and has an impact upon the resolution. It cannot be dismissed. Our claim that our opponent"s are criticizing is:

Limiting our youth to certain aspects of education and degrading others is absurd.

We thought that this was self explanatory but apparently it wasn"t so we will expand upon it. Being taught zoology in schools is also important. My opponent even goes to the extent to claim that teaching zoology in schools is pointless. He makes the following analogy:

"Certainly, most (if not all) schools do not teach courses about how deodorant is manufactured, for example, because that is useless knowledge. With few opportunities available in zoology, knowledge of different animals is useless."

This means that children with no knowledge of animals at all. What my opponent is advocating is the release of all animals in zoos to be returned into the wild and for school to not teach children about zoos and animals because it is pointless. The study of zoology is "the scientific study of the behaviour, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals (4)."

If my opponent still believes that there are few opportunities in zoology then they are on the wrong side of this debate. We are pro zoos and therefore we wish to expand and create more opportunities by expanding zoology and bringing in more scientists to improve animal care. Meanwhile, any scientists that are working now will be forced to leave their jobs by pro"s position. I believe that it is evident who is presenting a net benefit in jobs and who is presenting the harm.

On rebuttals in R2

It is evident that this was a rebuttal not an argument. In R2 (for arguments only), after we presented a contention on education they present a contention on it too. If that was a rebuttal round then I wouldn't have been surprised to see that argument. It would have been valid in a rebuttal round, not a round dedicated to arguments only.

The original argument made by us in education was that children are naturally curious about animals and that zoos have signs up about animals; their lives and where they live.

Our opponents (in the following round) made the following argument and even quoted from our argument regarding the economy. They quoted regarding our 142,000 job statistic and responded to it. They quoted from our $16 billion boost to the economy. Yet they continue to claim that they "never" made any rebuttals in that round.

On logic

We never argued that logic is irrelevant to this debate. This is completely false and is contradicted by our opponents themselves. Very shortly after they claim that we stayed that logic is irrelevant they quote directly from our arguments. Their quote states that we said "...logically and morally right" to "preserve endangered species "" This means that we did not dismiss logic, in fact we incorporated it into our argument as cited by pro themselves.


In this round we have proven why our opponents arguments do not stand and why ours do. Due to this fact our burden is being met and our opponents is not. therefore you ought to vote con based on the violations of Rule 2. Our opponents continue to ignore our evidence and counter our arguments with their own; of little resolutional value. We have also proven that our opponents R2 arguments contain rebuttals as well as arguments when rebuttals were only required for the following round. Our opponents have interconnected rebuttals and defensive together so this increases their unfair round advantage over us. We hope that you have enjoyed this team debate as much as we did and we urge voters to vote con!




Thanks to Prophet and Famous for a fun debate!


First, in response to Con’s overview, we would like to note that we have, in fact, demonstrated why animals should be released from zoos--their captivity reduces the happiness of both animals (shown in our first contention) and humans (second contention). We have repeatedly shown that a life of unhappiness is not worth living, and Con has not contested it at all, merely attempting to dismiss it with the buzz-word “irrelevant”. The fact that Con is still alleging irrelevance in our argument demonstrates a lack of understanding of our arguments, and nothing more.

On the Subject of the Opening Round
Before we do anything else, it is imperative to address the allegation of rule-breaking by opponents. Our opponents claim that we rebutted their argument in round two, and that it was against the rules. 1. We did not, for reasons we have explained and shall reiterate, and 2. There was NO rule set that said we couldn’t otherwise. We would like to note that there is no restriction against it that Con set forth. However, we already addressed why this isn’t the case; the nature of the resolution lends itself to overlap in arguments. Consider another resolution, for a moment: “On balance, zoos contribute positively to GDP”. GDP can be broken down into 4 parts: consumer spending, government spending, investment spending, and net exports. Any reasonable debater on either side is going to address all four of those points. Similarly, with the given resolution, there is a very finite subset of points that can be made for or against the morality of zoos within the context of benefits to animals and humans that both parties have used. One cannot substantially explore the effects of zoos on humans without exploring the economy and education. To call it a rebuttal is to substantially restrict our opening round, because it makes us unable to address the most significant issues in the debate just because our opponents happened to mention them first. We quoted from the same source simply because it was the first and most reliable source that anyone would find when looking up “the effect of zoos on the economy” (A). Note that, if we were rebutting within our opening round, we would have addressed the notion that some people would be rendered unemployed by the closure of zoos, for example. While we did say that the economy would be better off for closing zoos, we did not address this specific point made by Con. Similarly, while we did mention that education was not beneficial when directed toward animals, we did NOT argue that school children weren’t curious about them or that zoos couldn’t be an “amazing experience” for them or that they didn’t raise important issues about animals to them. Note that we derived our arguments for contention two, point two DIRECTLY from the AZA’s quote, which, I will repeat, are “science education and wildlife conservation, [generating] jobs and [supporting] local communities”. As such, given that the entire point of the argument was to demonstrate that the opportunity cost of achieving these goals was unreasonably high, and thus aiming to fulfill them is immoral, the overlap is clearly not rebuttals, but the result of an independently-framed argument that happened to touch on some of the same issues. Regardless, the fact that no such rule exists makes Con’s accusation void.

On Animal Treatment
We never ignored this part. We agree that zoos have veterinarians, but disagree that their services were being utilized. Our arguments have proved that many of the animals are not being taken care of regardless of the credibility or status of veterinarians. Con claims that a zoo in London takes proper care of their animals. This does not mean that all or most other zoos do the same. As we have demonstrated that zoos on balance create unhappiness in animals, they are immoral, regardless of any “protection” of a species.

On the Economy
We have provided empirical evidence to show that the economic benefits of zoos are minimal, by demonstrating the effects of spending on infrastructure. The money spent on zoos can be better spent elsewhere. Zoos aren’t a necessity, but a want, and Con has not demonstrated why it is necessary to save endangered species. Spending on this want wastes societal resources, as money coming into the zoos does not give society a substantial benefit, as we have shown.

On Culling and Endangered Animals
Con agrees that animal culling is an issue. Animals are culled regularly, because they are not wanted by the zoo anymore. From the examples provided, zoos DO NOT transfer unwanted animals to other zoos. Our opponent rebuts with what
should be done, rather than what is actually in practice, for evidence. Yet, we cannot simply ignore reality. The zoos have made their choice. There is no proof provided by our opponents that unwanted animals (instead of being culled) are transferred to other zoos. The “legume” simile is nonsensical.

As humans, we have no obligation to protect endangered animals that Con has shown. As we have argued before, this is based on personal belief. Protecting endangered animals is not a moral necessity; protecting the overall happiness of all animals and humans is, as we have shown. Con never demonstrated anywhere how extinction harms society as a whole, the claims are unsubstantiated.

Con repeatedly accuses us of arguments irrelevant to the resolution, yet never expounds upon why our points are in any way irrelevant. It is wrong to hold animals captive and raise them in a zoo when they will be mistreated and uncared for, and shortening their individual lives. [1] A study by the journal Science in 2008 found that 'Asian elephants in European zoos had a median lifespan of just 18.9 years compared to 41.7 years for [wild elephants]'.

On Education

Here, Con drops our alternative. We showed that children are quite capable of watching documentaries of endangered animals. More importantly, though, Con never demonstrates why animal education is important, while we have advanced an argument that it is not. Con claims, “[b]eing taught zoology . . . is also important”, but does not explain why this is the case. Therefore, without any substantive argument, this point goes to Pro.

On logic

Con claims, “We never argued that logic is irrelevant to this debate.” In Round 3, Rebuttal 2, Paragraph 1, Con states: “The opposing team tries to introduce logic as a relevant argument, but it is irrelevant.”

Clearly, Con is stretching the truth, to say the least.


We have conclusively demonstrated that it is immoral to waste money on zoos, and that the money should be spent on infrastructure or other educational endeavors instead, as it is immoral to let humans suffer while wasting money on animals. Con’s arguments have repeatedly been little more than talking points with little reasoning behind them, while ours are substantive and present a compelling alternative to keeping animals in zoos. We have shown that it is far better to let endangered species die happy than live in misery. There was no defined structure in the rules for our arguments other than that Round 1 was acceptance and this round can't be used for new arguments, so do not take it into account when voting. Thanks to our opponents for a fun debate, and, as the resolution is affirmed, vote Pro.

Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rosalie 11 months ago
Lol...its kind of late, because I forgot. But thanks everyone! this was a fun debate :)
Posted by Romanii 11 months ago
I'd debate this with either of the Pro team people.
Posted by TheProphett 11 months ago
Ayyyyyyyy! Thanks for having this debate with us Lee & Solon!
Posted by SolonKR 11 months ago
GG WP no re :p
Posted by famousdebater 11 months ago
Thanks for the vote TUF and thanks for the debate lee and Solon.
Posted by TUF 11 months ago
Great debate guys. Hope I didn't seem to harsh. It was a good debate! I'll make a shoutout for it to hopefully get more attention and traffic. Love team debates.
Posted by famousdebater 11 months ago
I know that this doesn't count and I before I begin I would like to tell voters NOT to consider this as part of the debate when voting but I feel like I must respond to the point on logic.

When making the claim that logic is irrelevant we then went on to make the claim that we need to look at it both morally and logically. If you look at what we said in the context we did not say that logic was irrelevant, we only said that you need to look at it morally and logically - not just ignore the morals and look at the logic.
Posted by famousdebater 11 months ago
We only did rebuttals and expanded upon previous arguments.
Posted by Rosalie 11 months ago
You guys basically broke rule #6..
Posted by famousdebater 12 months ago
Posted with 10 minutes left!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TUF 11 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
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