Animals Should Live Out of Menageries
Date of submission
Animals play an essential role in the life and wellbeing of human beings. Whether they are domestic or wild, they should be well taken care of so that human beings should enjoy the benefits of animals to the maximum. Wild animals live freely in the natural environment. Over the past decades, different organizations and people put animals in menageries because of various reasons. With advancements in terrariums, menagerie owners created situations where the animals, as well as the visitors who come to see them, can experience the natural feeling of the place.
Zoo owners argue that keeping the animals in a contained environment is helpful to the animals. Despite all the modifications done in menageries, it is a great debate about whether animals should live in closed areas and cages. The discussions have risen due to the numerous deaths and mistreat of animals in the menageries that have occurred. Many people have come up with opposing opinions on the issue. As a result, this paper explains why animals should live out of contained areas by looking at the perspectives of both sides. First, the essay will come up with the arguments on the positions of pros who support that animals should live out of zoos. The pro side will consist of the ideas of the welfare activists and ethicists. It will then be followed by the cons position who, on the other hand, support the idea that animals should live in menageries. The supporters will include the zoo owners and zoo visitors.
PRO positions: perspectives that support animals should live out of menageries
Animal welfare activists
Activists support the idea that animals should remain in the natural environment. In these places, they enjoy the freedom of movement and interaction with other animals. They live in a way that they obey the natural laws of the ecosystem, which is essential in their lives. When these animals live in the menagerie, they do not enjoy these priorities to the maximum. For instance, most of the zoo owners keep them so that they can gain income when people come to see them. They do not care about the natural living ways of the animals but try to imitate the forests. According to them, it is wrong to keep an animal under containment if the animal does not live a pleasant life like the one in it could enjoy its natural environment.
They also argue that the use of animals to entertain people is wrong. Animals do not enjoy the respect they deserve but are only used to achieve personal goals. People are foreign to animals, and therefore the animals may be restricted to live in their natural ways in the presence of people. Some people usually try to scare the animals in the zoo. Even if there are labels that warn against it, they try to see the reactions of the animals in case they are scared. When this happens for a long time, they end up living in fear their whole life instead of enjoying their stay there.
Activists are encouraging people to treat animals more humanely. They are also helping in preventing the rights of the animal. For instance, in 2017, the license of a zoo in Cumbria was revoked. It was provoked because of the death of 500 animals within two years. The welfare activists behind the closure argued that the animals in the menagerie looked depressed and miserable. The statistics of suffering animals in the zoo are as in figures 1 and 2. Other incidents have occurred even with private keepers of animals where the activists have sued them due to mistreating the animals.
*Figure 1: graph of animal abuse in the US regions in 2010.*
*Source: Siebert, C. (2010). The animal-cruelty syndrome. The New York Times, 11.*
*Figure 2: animal deaths at the zoo in New Delhi *
*Source: As told to Down to Earth by officials at the Central Authority, New Delhi*.
The idea of whether zoos act like conservators for animals is not new. Activists argue that only a small number of animals stay there. Mostly the zoos keep the animals that people like to see, such as lions, snakes, and gorillas. Zoos can only be termed as conservators if they could accommodate endangered species or other animals that need human help for their survival. In many cases, the zoo tries to protect an endangered species by bringing it under social care. Some of these trials fail, and hence the animals die. The death of endangered species is a significant loss because of the decrease in the population.
In the past, people were allowed to hunt animals, domesticate them, or use them for any other purposes they wanted. Currently, some ethics protect animals against such mistreat by human beings. The ethical perspectives have a more extensive range from the abolition of animals use for different purposes to the use of animals regardless of the cost of damage to the animal.
In response to the issue of keeping animals under captivity, the animal’s ethics advocates that animals should have moral and legal considerations similar to those given to human beings (Korthals, 2002). Therefore, they view the holding of animals under captivity as speciesism. Speciesism is where one species, in this case, people, give the other species less moral and legal consideration.
The ethics do not deny people the total use of animals for their benefit. The only restriction they provide is that the use of animals should not go to the extent that its utilization exceeds the cost of an individual animal (Bradshaw, 2000). This provision is used to answer ethically the question of whether animals should live in small controlled areas for conservation purposes. The ethical perspective of this is that the cost of individual species will deprive in the process of saving the remaining few species. They argue that instead of keeping the animals in then zoos, the conservationists should take care of the animals while they are in the free fields. They should take necessary action to educate the public on how to conduct the conservation of such endangered species.
CON position: opponents of removing animals from zoos
Zoo owners reject that keeping animals under containment is wrong. They provide the necessities that the animals require and at the time that they need them. In return, the animals act as a source of income where people pay to see the animals. They argue that some animals are rare to see in the natural field and therefore, the zoos help people to see them.
They emphasize that zoos tare used for different purposes, and therefore their existence is justifiable. For instance, zoos do most of the research on animals. Scientists argue that the studies carried out in the zoo are not accurate because the animals are limited to their originality. However, the owners of the zoo argue that a lot of information is present from studies done in the zoos.
Zoos play an essential role in conservation. They struggle to keep as many threatened animals as possible. Through such programs, zoo owners advocate that they are critical in the preservation of biodiversity. They support their arguments by mentioning several animals that have been saved from extinction by the zoos. Such animals include the European bison and the Mongolian wild horse (Laidlaw, 2001).
The owners have offered an exceptional education to the public. There are limited places where people can access information about different animals at the same time. This information is present at the zoos, and therefore the owners see them of great importance. The education has helped to teach the public on the aspects of conservation for long-term effects and a large scale benefits the animals (Patrick, 2007).
Zoo owners argue that it is difficult to provide for the needs of a roaming animal. Some animals live in ways that once they are released, it is difficult to locate them. Therefore, such animals should be locked in areas where all their provisions are present. They argue that they carry out enough research on the behavior characteristics, the way of life, and the essentials needed by the animals before they bring them to the zoos. Even if not all animals can live, they try as much as possible to keep those whose needs can be catered for easily.
People who visit zoos to see animals go with different intentions. Some go for educational purposes, research, conservation as well as for fun. They advocate for the keeping of the places so that they can get the services offered at any time they want. According to them, when people go to see animals in the zoo, in the end, they become more interested in protecting the animals. Therefore, they act for the best interest of the animals (Godinez, 2019). People also enjoy the site of the areas such that it helps them to relieve stress. Seeing animals is believed to create happiness in people.
To support the idea that zoos are essential, some visitors go to the extent of starting their zoos and keep a small number of animals. Others take animals from orphanages and take them to their homesteads so that they can take care of them. The law provides for the ability of people to keep animals in their homes but they should follow the rights of animal protection.
Visitors advocate that some zoos keep tamed animals. Therefore, the visitors get a chance to interact with the animals. It creates a lot of interest in the animal as the people get connected to them. Consumers always want to enjoy maximum interaction with animals. Unlike in places like parks where animals are not easily visible, the zoo provides the consumers with direct interaction with the animals they want for as long as they wish. It is, therefore, evident that they support the keeping of animals in the menagerie.
In conclusion, the argument on whether animals should live in containment or left to roam around has received different perceptions from various stakeholders. Each one of them tries to support their idea and showing how their ideas are significant. The welfare activists and ethicists argue that keeping animals in a closed place negatively affects the animal. The zoo owners and visitors argue that zoos act for the long-term effect of protecting animals through direct interactions with the public.
However, zoos are intended primarily to earn people’s income but not look at the beneficial interests of the animals. The animals in the cages act as captives of humans. They are not allowed to interact with others and the environment freely. They only do so when their keepers feel like it is the right time to do so. Some of the zoos harass the animals to the extent that they die.
To some extent, researchers have found difficulties in answering whether animals are satisfied with everything provided for them or do they lack the joy in finding for their own. The challenges mainly result due to the observation that most animals in the cages look distressed. The physiology and behavior are different as compared to those animals in the natural ecosystems. It is therefore evident that zoos play more destructive purposes than protective ones and therefore, animals should live out of the menageries.
Bradshaw, E. L., & Bateson, P. (2000). Animal welfare and wildlife conservation. *CONSERVATION BIOLOGY SERIES-CAMBRIDGE-*, 330-348.
Godinez, A.M., & Fernandez, E.J. (2019). What is the zoo experience? How zoos impact a visitor’s behaviors, perceptions and conservation efforts. *Frontiers in Psychology, *10(1746), 1-8.
Korthals, M. (2002). A Multi-Practice Ethics of Domesticated and “Wild” Animals. In *Pragmatist Ethics for a Technological Culture* (pp. 127-141). Springer, Dordrecht.
Laidlaw, R. (2001). Re-introduction of captive bred animals to the wild: Is the modern ark afloat. *APA (6th ed.) Who cares for planet Earth*.
Patrick, P. G., Matthews, C. E., Ayers, D. F., & Tunnicliffe, S. D. (2007). Conservation and education: Prominent themes in zoo mission statements. *The Journal of Environmental Education*, *38*(3), 53-60.
Siebert, C. (2010). The animal-cruelty syndrome. *The New York Times*, *11*.