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

Zoos should be banned

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,377 times Debate No: 19579
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)




Hello, I will be opposing the motion that Zoos should be banned. I think Zoos should not be banned altogether. Yes, there is cruelty in some zoos and yes, they are not perfect but the basic idea is solid and should not be abandoned. *****If you're not going to join the debate then PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE at least comment. Thanks!!!!!!!****



I'd like to thank themallet for this interesting and undoubtedly controversial resolution.


I will be undertaking the affirmative position, arguing that the keeping live animals in cages and large enclosures for breeding and public exhibition should be illegal.

Due to themallet having not posted any opening arguments, I will follow suit and allow Con to commence our discourse. Consequently, I will also not propose any new arguments in the final round. Good luck.

Debate Round No. 1


Zoos on the whole should not be banned. The definition of a zoo is "Any place where animals are kept and displayed to the public." In no place does this mention cruelty. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with zoos, they can work. Most modern zoos are primarily for conservation and conservation research. This shows a definite upward trend and I feel that this shows that Zoos are improving. There may be cruelty in some zoos, but that doesn't mean that all zoos as a matter of principal should be shut down.



"The definition of a zoo is "Any place where animals are kept and displayed to the public." In no place does this mention cruelty."

Likewise, a farm is defined as "a park-like area in which live animals are kept in cages or large enclosures for public exhibition".[1] In no place does this mention the castration of boars without anaesthesia or the complete restriction of sow movement "to prevent the sow from crushing a piglet to death, because of the lack of space".[2]

Definitions rarely equate to their physical counterparts in reality. Zoos are no exception.

"Most modern zoos are primarily for conservation and conservation research. This shows a definite upward trend and I feel that this shows that Zoos are improving."

Unfortunately, this is simply an unsupported premise leading to a speculatory conclusion along with personal opinion and thus holds no value.


1. suffering occurs

Regardless of intention, animal suffering occurs in zoos by virtue of the animals being in a synthetic habitat. Ignoring for a moment the malnutrition, exploitation for illegal gains, and hosts of other problems frequently occuring in zoos, one realizes the implications of having to create habitats for wild animals. Birds are prevented from flying by having their wings clipped and caged in aviaries. Animals whose natural habitats are prairies and plains are confined to unnaturally small spaces in cages and behind bars. This results in psychological distress and abnormal or self-destructive behaviour.[3]

Animal conservation, and consequently, protection, is the primary objective of zoos, as pro stated. The fact that the complete opposite occurs globally in zoos indicates the effectiveness of zoological parks are sub-optimal at best.

2. miseducation

Despite pro having not addressed this point as an argument, I will take it upon myself to rebut it regardless.

A common defense for the necessity of zoos is that they educate the populous about animals and their behaviours vis-à-vis school trips, tours, etc. However, by simply existing, zoos are in fact accomplishing the complete opposite and miseducating the public on animals just as much, if not more, than they are educating it. Not a single animal found in captivity will behave as they would in the wild. Animals in captivity and their genetic predispositions and instincts to hunt are tamed and dulled (to an extent). This simple fact is conveying tremendous amounts of misinformation to adults, not to mention the impressionable minds of children. A possible result of this miseducation is a person encountering an animal in the wild that has been subconsciously labelled as tame and non-violent by zoological parks, which may then lead to severe injury or death.

The observation of animals in captivity will never be the optimal method of education and instruction pertaining to wild animals.

A second, more subtle form of miseducation is that children are subconsciously taught it is perfectly acceptable to capture and use animals for human pleasure while unbeknownst to them the fact that the proprietors of zoos (in general) are attempting to protect the animals.

3. alteration

As mentioned above, animals who are genetically predisposed to hunting are tamed when held in captivity and delivered food on a scheduled basis. One could argue that not only are not conserving those animals, we are destroying them through domestication and the alteration of their very nature.

Let us consider a future where tigers in the wild are non-existent. The only tigers left on Earth are in captivity around the world. Let us then visualize a world where human progress has harmonized with nature and tigers can live safely in the wild, undisturbed by humanity's influence. The tigers that would be released into this wild would be tame and unable or unwilling to hunt for food as they have been drilled into expectation of sustenance and have lost their instinct. This would be a cruel and ultimately immoral act on the part of humanity.

4. efforts could be directed elsewhere

The reason zoos are created by humans for animal conversation is due to human activity. Poaching/hunting laws and consequently, law enforcement would help solve the problem before a problem ever existed.

5. moral inequality

Humans are part of the animal kingdom. If zoos are meant to conserve animal life and protect them from humans, why do we not cage, feed, and publicly display the humans who cannot protect themselves from other humans?

Because it is morally wrong, and by that vein, wild animals should also not be held in captivity.





Debate Round No. 2


themallet forfeited this round.


Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited the final round.

Extend all arguments. Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by caveat 6 years ago
Ah, so that's what he meant.
I suppose that is more intuitive, but simply paying attention to the positions fixes that.
Posted by vmpire321 6 years ago
Well logically... If you are going to be CON on something, then you might as well not mention it. For example, if I said "I am against Guns being banned", it wouldn't make much sense... Because, are guns being banned? Is it a current issue? On the other hand, providing an idea and promoting it seems like a much more logical approach towards something. Just the way Ore_ele and me think. (At least I think.)
Posted by caveat 6 years ago
Am I misinterpreting Ore_Ele's comment or did it just seem to come out of the blue?
Posted by themallet 6 years ago
@ Ore_ele
I don't see what's wrong with being "Con" as an instigator if you want some practice for a debate that is actually going to happen in the real world. Thanks a lot for commenting though!!!
Posted by innomen 6 years ago
Or as I call them: 'animal prisons'.
Posted by caveat 6 years ago
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
I can see why some people think that instigators should be PRO by default. I can't see many people actually taking this debate (though it would be interesting).
Posted by Nalydmerc 6 years ago
I think you don't understand that these debates aren't real time. :P Debates on here are usually spread out over at least a week. Debates hardly ever go from start to finish in one sitting. Give it some time; someone will accept soon enough. :P
Posted by themallet 6 years ago
accept then!
Posted by themallet 6 years ago
Yes, very - on one hand, there have been some terrible acts of cruelty in zoos over the years. Just search "zoo cruelty" and click on images - it's frankly disgusting. On the other hand, zoos themselves don't necessarily have to be banned.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Boogerdoctor 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had good arguments, and, in my opinion, at least could have even beaten a good debater with this argument. Also, Con forfeited.
Vote Placed by Chrysippus 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Although I personally support Con's side, his arguments were weak and unsupported. He argues from a dictionary definition and his own feelings about the matter, neither one of which are at all convincing. Pro's arguments, though they could also have benefited from more sources showing that suffering is in fact occurring, were much stronger.