OPINION: Zoos are an animal’s nightmare


There is absolutely nothing more exciting as a child than hearing the phrase, “We’re going to the zoo.”

Animals you would normally have to travel hundreds of miles to see were suddenly right at your fingertips. The excitement of seeing baby monkeys, enthusiastic seals and elephants larger than you have ever imaged was almost too much to bear. In my eyes, the metal bars that kept the animals in was a normal way of living for them; however, I came to find out that it’s not.

With such small enclosures and minimal privacy, animals often become stressed and bored, according to the Animal Rights article “Arguments for and against zoos.”

In the wild, animals have freedom that allows them to roam as far and long as they desire.

“Elephants walk up to 30 miles each day, bears are active for up to 18 hours a day exploring their home ranges for up to hundreds of miles, and tigers and lions love running and climbing and will roam many miles to hunt,” according to the Peta Kids article “5 secrets zoos don’t want you to know.”

Zoos have been known to bring people and animals together in a way that educates the public, making them aware of the animals’ living habits and furthering appreciation for the animals. In reality, however, the limitations animals face when in captivity make the efforts to educate fall short. Because the animals are unable to live the way they normally would in the wild, they are offering very little educational value to the visitors.

“You’re not getting the right education about what animals are like in the wild. That’s why we believe that you should keep wildlife in the wild. That’s best for animals and it’s best for the people,” said Adam Roberts, senior vice president of the animal protection advocacy group Born Free USA, on the Good Morning America segment “Born Free USA.”

After a Siberian tiger killed a 17-year-old boy and severely injured two men at the San Francisco Zoo, Roberts said caging animals can create problems for both humans and the animals.

Many of the animals that live in zoos have been born into captivity and will more than likely never be released back into the wild.

Baby animals are some of the most popular attractions at zoos; however, once those animals become adults, their popularity dwindles and the zoo begins to lose money. This incentive to breed new babies leads to overpopulation within the zoos, which forces the zoos to find a new home for the animals, according the Animal Rights article.

“Surplus animals are sold not only to other zoos but also to circuses, canned hunting facilities and even for slaughter,” the article said.

This is one of the biggest problems with zoos.

It is absolutely baffling that money is such a large factor in these animals’ quality of life.

Millions of dollars are spent to ensure the health of animals and education of people, Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, said on the Good Morning America segment.

The millions of dollars being spent are doing the complete opposite of what Hannah proposes. Instead of ensuring the health of the animals, the unnatural settings of metal bars and concrete floors are causing the animals stress.

If zoos are teaching children anything, it is that imprisoning animals for our own entertainment and benefit is acceptable, and it is not.

Hi world! I'm Kaitlyn Cotton. I'm a junior studying English with hopes of going to law school one day. I spend my days writing, reading and working for the Collegian. I have had articles published in the Kansas City Star, the Collegian, and most importantly- my parent's refrigerator.