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Author Topic: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?  (Read 729 times)

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Offline DamnedangelTopic starter

Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« on: November 22, 2013, 10:42:06 PM »
So just a bit of basics before I launch into my question :)

I'm studying a degree to do with animal behaviour and welfare, at the moment the module I'm studying is to do with zoo's, safari parks, aquariums and other animal collections like them and I've been asked to get peoples opinions on them. However my problem is I've asked people and all I got is a resounding 'I kinda agree' which doesn't really help me.

I need opinions differing from 'Yes I strongly agree' to 'No I don't agree'. The maybes do help but I need varying opinions for my essay.

So my question to all of Elliquiy is 'Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?' if so what are your opinions? What do you think about the zoos, aquariums etc?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2013, 10:50:01 PM »
During the last few decades zoo and other facilities housing animals have come a long way to improving conditions, getting animals out of cages and into the open and studying the various species they have in house.  Our zoos and aquariums are provide a safe haven for some extinct in the wild species or those that are in danger.  Health care has improved as well.  The educational opportunities are amazing and that alone is a way to keep the public aware of conservation efforts and the need to protect those species that are threatened.

I think zoos are good. :-)

Offline Sel Nar

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 12:24:29 AM »
Back before the turn of the millenium, when I was still a dumb teen, I had the rare opportunity to go on a class tour of the Toronto Zoo. I learned more in the four hours of gallivanting about in what amounts to a 700-acre wildlife habitat, with each part of the zoo clearly tailored to be as comfortable as possible for the animals that would normally live in the geographic area the zoo section imitated, and everything within human ability is done to ensure that the animals are not only well-cared for, but as comfortable as they can possibly be with a few million gawkers wandering about within earshot for several hours each day.

I can say, based on my observations, and experiences (and being able to see only a small fraction of the 450+ species in the zoo) that Zoos are extremely important, to allow us to see what is beyond the local wildlife. So, my opinon/vote is squarely in the 'Strongly agree' camp.

Offline Ebb

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 09:23:43 AM »
It might help if you broke your question down into more specific ones. I imagine one reason you might be getting wishy-washy responses is that for most people there could be a bunch of both positives and negatives, and they add up to somewhere in the middle. For instance, you could say:

For each of the following statements, respond on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree):

1) Zoos provide an important educational resource.
2) Zoos provide good living conditions for the animals in their care.
3) Zoos play an important role in protecting endangered animals and rebuilding their population.
4) Zoos should be judged primarily on their entertainment value.
5) It is better for animals to be kept in their natural habitat than in artificial living conditions.

etc., etc. You could probably easily come up with 10-20 questions that hit most of the controversial points. That way you get some real data that you can use rather than just anecdotes.

For my own opinion, I'd say that zoos are pretty critical tools for the preservation of animals and for educating people about them. On the other hand, some zoos are poorly funded and some zoos do a lousy job of caring for their animals. I don't know much about how zoo regulation works, but the occasional horror story does stick in the mind.

Also, you may want to be clear about what country or countries you're talking about. I've heard some very bad things about some Chinese zoos, but that might be beyond the scope of your interest.

Edit: Just wanted to clarify that when I said "wishy-washy" I meant the responses you're apparently getting in person, not the two posts above mine in this thread, which were anything but.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 09:26:52 AM by Ebb »

Offline didoanna

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 11:47:14 AM »
For each of the following statements, respond on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree):

1) Zoos provide an important educational resource.
2) Zoos provide good living conditions for the animals in their care.
3) Zoos play an important role in protecting endangered animals and rebuilding their population.
4) Zoos should be judged primarily on their entertainment value.
5) It is better for animals to be kept in their natural habitat than in artificial living conditions.


1)  My vote = 1 - they are brilliant for education, especially the 'modern hi-tech' zoos and safari parks.
2)  My vote = 1 - see above about modern zoos etc.
3)  My vote = 2 - Some zoos seem to do a very good job as do some safari parks.  Not sure about places like 'The Deep' in the UK.
4)  My vote = 3 - zoos have to keep the customers coming in but it shouldn't be all about entertainment.
5)  Really not sure - in an ideal world I'd agree but for some animals to keep the species going zoos etc. may be the only option s0 my vote would be a 3.

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Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 12:14:56 AM »
Zoos with proper maintenance and knowledgeable staff are an asset to both humans and animals. Certain animals (such as cheetahs, the most timid of the big cats who will stress themselves into miscarriage easily) thrive under the care of humans.  In addition, animals nearing extinction also thrive under the care of humans usually.

Under ideal situations, it would be nice to keep animals wild and leave it at that. However, humans are taking over the world and we're not bound to stop. I'd rather give animals the chance to live a happy, if captive, life than watch them fall into extinction. I'd prefer it if they allowed live prey for the carnivores but that's not bound to happen any time soon as it would scare the kids.

Offline meikle

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 06:41:17 AM »
Quote
Also, you may want to be clear about what country or countries you're talking about. I've heard some very bad things about some Chinese zoos, but that might be beyond the scope of your interest.

It's good to be specific though.  'Zoos' is broad.  I feel differently about a zoo that's open to researchers and one that isn't.  I feel differently about a public zoo and a private zoo.

I feel differently about zoos that feed their animals and zoos that don't.

etc, etc.

Offline DamnedangelTopic starter

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 09:33:24 AM »
The reason I left the question so broad in general was because the main idea was animals in captivity and what you aka the public think of it.

I could have said the country but I felt like I didn't need to since zoos in different countries have different morals and ethical concerns to another countries and thats stepping down a line I've already written down in my essay.

I just wanted to get a general scope of opinions and not tread into the morals and ethics of zoos along with the behind the scenes workings, education etc.

Sort of like I agree with some zoos but not others, theres a safari park near where I lived back home before moving to uni and I loved it because the animals got to roam and they had tons of space and they didn't have cages (except the walls seperating predators from pray with big gates.. imagine jurassic park when they first see the dinosaurs).

 I also visited another zoo recently where they had the animals in cages and all I saw was pacing and stereotypic behaviour.

Offline Ivory11

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 03:39:59 AM »
well depends what the zoo is for.

Some zoos like the Australia zoo have large open enclosures that give the animals room to roam, sleep, interact with each other and more as well as rules which give the staff the authority to throw out and ban any visitors who torment the animals as well as huge chunks of the place's profits going to wildlife preservation and such causes. these kinds of zoos i completely and whole-heartedly endorse an love.

but there are other zoos, where most of the plants are plastic, the enclosures are small, and the "shows" the "trainers" put on are little more than circus acts that the animals are tormented into performing, as well as instances of animal cruelty like some zoos in China where they set a live piglet loose in a concrete enclosure with tigers who get no exercise asside from this chase and no sunlight, these kinds of zoos i abhor and think should only ever be banned and the owners thrown in prison on animal cruelty charges.

So, really it all comes down to the zoo, if it is a place founded by people who love animals and it's purpose is to inspire, educate and do charity just as much as it is to entertain, which they do very well, then i love those zoos.

but if it is a place founded by greedy businessmen who just want a profit and make the enclosures small and torment the animals as well as starve them just to save a few bucks to line their pockets... then get me my torch and pitchfork, i got some linching to do!

Offline scarletgender

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 03:58:58 AM »

I am for zoos generally.

As an animal lover I do have reservations about the spaces that some animals are kept in, especially the larger animals.  I have yet to see anywhere that has a space large enough to accommodate Orcas or Dolphin really.

However, in general, for a well equipped, zoo the educational and conservation efforts made by the zoo are far too important to ignore.

Offline Moraline

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2013, 02:14:21 PM »
I don't like Zoos. I think they are prisons for living creatures.  However...

I do like protected Wildlife parks and large Animal refuges that preserve natural habitat (even if it means having to control the populations of them.)

I do think Zoos though are necessary and good when used to preserve animals species that have gone extinct or are on the verge of extinction. I think they serve a function in society as a place where animals can be taken when they are in danger of having to be put down for one reason or the other. Having the animals there, alive, and well cared for, can serve the benefit of educating people about them. It introduces many people to something that they might not ordinarily have the chance to be exposed to.

I don't think there is a clear yes or no answer to the question there are just too many caveats to it.

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Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2013, 03:28:21 PM »
During the last few decades zoo and other facilities housing animals have come a long way to improving conditions, getting animals out of cages and into the open and studying the various species they have in house.  Our zoos and aquariums are provide a safe haven for some extinct in the wild species or those that are in danger.  Health care has improved as well.  The educational opportunities are amazing and that alone is a way to keep the public aware of conservation efforts and the need to protect those species that are threatened.

I think zoos are good. :-)
I share BeMi's opinion nearly verbatim.

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Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2013, 11:32:38 PM »
I love Zoos.  I like to think myself as Animal Lover but as someone who lives in North America , I think Zoo's  are a necessity for  modern society.


How else could we teach school children about penguins or zebras? Unless we start  sending fourth graders on field trips Africa , I don't know how we're going to truly teach them the joy of interacting with so many wondrous animals. I suppose  you can read a book or visit a website but that's not the same as seeing an actual living Kangaroo or Giraffe.

I get the idea of Wildlife Parks and Sanctuary but there aren't a whole lot of Two-Toed Sloth Sanctuaries in North America.

Look at Education. There aren't  many  Emus  near  Brown , Harvard and Yale. So if you're  studying Ornithology  at an ivy league school...There's not a whole lot of options available other then your local zoo.

I also highly doubt there are many Emu Sanctuaries in Massachusetts  or Rhode Island though maybe I'm wrong.


Offline Jazra

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2014, 03:57:01 PM »
I do not oppose well-run zoos on an ethical level. Many are valuable not only in how they care for their animals, but in educating those visiting about the wonders of nature and society's need to devote resources to protect our world's genetic diversity. But some zoos are ... at best ... terrible.

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2014, 07:27:50 PM »
I agree with many people here: depends on the quality of the zoo.

Offline Crimzon Dragon

Re: Zoos do you agree, disagree or are on the fence?
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2014, 08:11:18 PM »
Hope this reply is not so far downstream from the time you asked that it is now irrelevant, but if I understand your question, it is are zoos inherently good or bad?

I do not believe they are inherently bad, but until quite recently, most zoos were found a great deal lacking when it came to housing for the larger animals and only marginally good for smaller ones.  If we are to keep animals in an enclosure, it should be one that allows them a reasonably large enough space for them to roam around without losing their minds trying to find solitude.  In addition, many large zoos are found in climates that are nowhere near like the natural habitat the animals come from, therefore, nothing like a natural setting.  Children love to see the animals, but have no knowledge of the impact of the enclosure.

Some zoos, such as the San Diego zoo have space enough for many animals to live as they would in the wild, but I doubt any zoo really has space to allow this setting for really large animals such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos and such.  On top of this problem, enclosed animals seem to tend to be more dangerous to themselves if they are territorial and have too many specimen in the same area.  An example is the death of a giraffe in the Little Rock from falling during a fight with another younger male giraffe.  Add to these problems the seriously minimal funding most zoos receive from state and local funding and you have a recipe for disastrous situations for all of the animals.

I enjoyed visiting the aquariums in Chicago when I was a small youngster, but seeing them now, I wonder if that is even a good thing.

Are zoos good, probably not, but for those animals that have lived all their lives in a zoo, it is the only place they can live now, and it may be the only hope for some animals that are eminent danger of extinction from poaching as well...neither of these situations is desirable, but it may be a matter of accepting the least offensive solution.