Zoos are terrible establishments. By definition, they maintain a collection of wild animals for study, conservation, or display to the public.
The main problem with zoos is their desire to “study” these animals. It does not take dragging an animal out of their natural habitat to study them. If the studying being done is based on observation, then there is no point in placing animals in confined spaces decorated to look like their homes. There are serious dangers to creating this makeshift home for them, too: it throws them off and can upset them. Imagine seeing a wall painted to look like trees in the distance, but the closer you get to the “tree”, the more you realize it is not there. Because animals’ emotional behaviors are similar to those of humans, it is easy to tell when they are upset. In zoos, many animals display some form of sadness in their cage or room. These sad or depressed animals may harm each other or themselves, become ill, or go hungry. They may also start rocking, swaying, pacing, circling, and practicing excessive grooming as a sign of discomfort.
The people in charge of kidnapping these animals are not considering the effect it has on the animal. Captivity can make the animal depressed, and the mental state affects the physical. Oftentimes when people do see animals at the zoo, there are that handful that seem lethargic or sleepy. Besides the fact that they might have depression, these zookeepers are drugging up the animals with antidepressants, tranquilizers, and antipsychotic drugs to alleviate “behavioral problems.” For animals, though, these are not behavioral problems. It is 1. their nature or 2. their response to the conditions they are living in.
Another problem with zoos is that people often feel they need to take animals into zoos or captivity for conservation. The National Wildlife Federation is one organization that claims by conserving wildlife, they are “ensuring that future generations can enjoy our natural world and the incredible species that live in it.” They are not being realistic to the fact that the species will go extinct eventually. The same way humans die every day is exactly what happens to animals. There is no need to conserve them. It is selfish to keep them around for human entertainment. Zoos are prisons for animals. They disguise their inhumanity with claims of conservation. If these organizations really care about future generations, they should be doing more to conserve the planet, not just the animals they want people to see.
Sometimes the animals are rightfully assisted, though. When humans go into the wild and find an injured animal, they use their resources to help those animals. Their kindhearted actions do not go unnoticed. The problem lies in their decision to abduct these animals from their natural habitat and bring them back to live in a cage.
Zoos should be abolished. Seeing an animal is not a life-changing experience. It is not humane or right to do this to them, either. All animals should be free to live in their natural habitat without man-made drugs to keep them calm or people staring at them. Even though animals do not speak the same languages we speak, it is not fair that they have to endure distressing conditions without being able to advocate for themselves.