zoos do more harm than good because for one they teach kids that it is okay to trap and mistreat animals. Zoos are also provingly made for the visitors and not the animals. say they didn't have enough space for a third bathroom, they would take away part of the enclosures from the animals around them to make space for the bathroom.
Zoo's do more good then harm. the real answer to this debate lies in whether or not the animals would prefer to be in the zoo or whether it would prefer to be out in the wild. There are certainly zoos such as the surabaya zoo in Indonesia or even the San Antonio zoo, that do cause harm to animals and zoos such as this do cause more harm then good. However, these are only few and far between specific examples of animal cruelty in zoos. The purpose of a zoo can range from simply displaying animals for the general public to see to use as a way to easily study certain animal species that are hard to observe in the wild or even to preserve a species that is endangered. As a whole zoos like this do more good then harm.
you can never really tell if the animal wants to be in the enclosure or not, there are many other zoos that do cause harm to the animals. when you go to a zoo you don't want to go and see all of these animals pacing back and forth. when an animal is pacing back and forth it is a proven fact that they are going mentally insane. you want to go a zoo and see the animals having fun and playing but you rarely see that. there is also many times that the animals that are being showcased to the people get reprimanded or starved because they do not perform right or do a trick right. It is the animal to be free and run not to do a flip for fish or treats.
It is true that we cannot actually ask the animal and see how they are doing, but like you said pacing back and forth is one of many ways we can study animals and make a pretty good guess on how that animal is doing. secondly there is a very big difference between a circus and a zoo. although there can be shows with animals in zoos it is extremely rare especially in modern zoos, outside of some private animal facility like a circus, to have an animal starved in order to perform tricks for audience members. Finally your last point that its an animals right to run free. Animals primary goal is to eat and live long enough to reproduce not to romp through the fields and smell flowers. All though it is true that small areas can lead animals used to open areas to go crazy, a zoo is not like a prison. in prison a person is detained for doing something illegal. A zoo provides an animal with safe living conditions and a steady and safe supply of food.
I know that were is a very big difference between a zoo and a circus but there are many times that they choose specific animals to do things. When an animal is born in captivity it will never really see what its true home is like. And sometimes the animal that is brought into the zoo will never be let out again. There is also many weapons that are allowed in zoos like sharp bullhooks , or whips. Also you say that they have safe living conditions but really they have dictated living standards. There was an act that was passed and it is called The Animal Welfare Act. The AWA is a very serious thing that is supposed to help these captive animals but even with its federal power it has, it cant do anything for the animals because these zoos are paying thousands of dollars to have these things taken of there records even tho there is a lot of harm done and i DO NOT agree with it.
It is true that when an animal is born into captivity it very rarely is ever released into the wild. However, this is not because we are being cruel to them. When an animal is born in captivity its mother is also obviously in captivity. If both the mother and the baby where to be released into the wild there is a very good chance that they baby will die as the mother has not had to hunt for its own food for many years and so simply can't provide for itself and its child. Apart from this it simply makes more sense to keep an animal born into captivity. by keeping these babies fewer animals are being taken out of the wild. As you said there are tools/weapons used to move or control animals in zoos. Several of these can be described as cruel. However, tools such as the whip or cattle prod can be the only way to get animals to move from one place to another. large animals just don't respond to the same techniques as small animals. Throughout the zoo community there are certainly cases of animal abuse. However, as a whole zoos are not designed to be cruel to animals in order to please the public. As a whole zoos provide more good to the general public, the scientific community and the animal world then harm.
Reasons for voting decision: I feel that all things considered, Zoos in General do more good than bad. Yes they are geared toward people, but the admission charged to the public is used to fund research, I believe that most people that work in zoos do so because they truly love the animals they work with. I myself thought about going for a Zoology degree, and I can assure you that it was not for the pay.