Are zoos cruel and unnecessary?

Many people argue that zoos should be banned because keeping animals in captivity do not benefit them in the slightest but in fact makes life harder for these animals. These people say it’s cruel and they repeat the phrase “how would you feel if you were kept in a cage with curious eyes gawking at you all day?” over and over again.

These people have a valid point, sure, but this is a very one sided approach to the situation because none of them acknowledge the good that zoos do for the animals. Are humans just so cruel that they would keep animals in captivity for nothing but their own amusement?


I myself do not think so. I think the people who are pro-zoos truly believe that they are doing something beneficial for these animals – caring for them, rescuing endangered species, etc. Zoos are here for the animals, having them open to the public for education purposes is just a bonus, a win-win situation. It’s not to purposely make the animals feel uncomfortable. In fact I think zoos try their hardest to make them feel comfortable. They give these animals a home, spending a sum of money to make the habitat look like the forests and jungles they come from, give them the food and interaction that they might not be able to attain by their own in the wild, without the harm of their predators.


So, I would say no, (most) zoos are not cruel and unnecessary. In fact they are actually beneficial and necessary for both the animals and us humans.


12 thoughts on “Are zoos cruel and unnecessary?

  1. I agree with your side of the argument. I find that certain zoos that demonstrate cruelty to animals should be banned, however there are zoos that allow humans to study and observe them. Also, it is in the best interest of the zoos to keep the animals safe and healthy. I do believe that certain wildlife animals should be able to kept in wildlife and are not meant for zoos (tigers, lions and leopards etc.) however if they have room to roam around I agree with your argument.

  2. Im split between the two sides. It’s a case by case scenario for me. I would look at the enclosure, size height, privacy and peacefulness to the animal. Zoos are there for the income. That’s certain. No real zoo is operated to benefit the animals alone, otherwise just release them back into the wild right?

    But then the (Xiong Mao), Giant Panda in China, have their own smaller sanctuaries aimed at increasing the numbers and protecting them. And they also have a lot of visitors through at the same time. So there is a mutual benefit there.

    Lions, tigers and anything of the sort, need running and roaming space, so seeing these big beasts locked up like that is pretty sad.

  3. Although I think you’ve presented a great argument about an issue which is widely discussed, I feel really torn between the opposing sides. Although I agree with you that zoos have their place as far as research, protection and preservation goes, I think that “zoos are not cruel and unnecessary” as a conclusive statement is too generalised.

    In some instances, animals in zoos are poorly kept and are subjected to extreme cruelty and exploitation. These zoos, are still zoos.

    There are some zoos, such as Weribee Park in Victoria, which aim to replicate the animals natural habitat. Through doing so, they provide the animals with a higher quality of life and are actually able to observe them, and conduct there research in a much more realistic way. Arguably, animals in finer constraints (cages) of captivity might become depressed and aggressive, which would not provide the zoologists with realistic research and it also does not educate people (visitors) about their behaviour, nor does it instil a degree of respect for these animals which is paramount to the determination of their survival in the future.

    I agree with Zack’s stance as he states that it is a “case by case” issue.

  4. I believe “Zoos” in general is hard to argue for, as the situation from zoo to zoo will vary. I have noticed in recent times, highlighted by the media especially, that some zoos in less developed parts of the world provide a less than ideal habitat for their animals. This is not to say the developed parts of the world are excluded from this, but the more critical conditions tend to appear within the developing parts of the world.

    With the increasing reach of man’s influence, the habitats for animals are diminishing every day. I do agree that the concept of zoos for the most part are good, and provide habitats for species that would otherwise be extinct or help bolster numbers to be released back in to the wild. One thing I would like to see is an international standard within zoos proposed and enforced for zoos to remain open to the public though,

  5. I love your post! i agree with you. People who always complain that zoo’s should be banned and that it only means harm to animals should think twice first before they completely open their mouth and speak their minds out. Yes, there are some Zoo’s and zoo keepers who are irresponsible and could careless about their job and the animals’ rights. But people who complain should not assume that every zoo and every keeper are the same. There are Zoo keepers who do their job only for the money but it is certain that there are more Zoo keepers that accepted this job because they love animals and that they wanted to help out balance the nature. Zoos’ does not only provide entertainment for the people who goes their for a fun time, it also provides a new habitat for the animal whom we people forced out of their own home. We humans have the conscience to control natures number because animal couldn’t do it themselves, not only that it is scientifically proven that a slight imbalance in nature will be tragic not only for the animal but also to us humans.

  6. By stating the reasonings of why people wouldn’t agree with zoos in your introduction it automatically made me more lenient towards the opposing side. None the less, you do have some great links and backed up your thesis quite well. The endangered animals held in captivity I could understand, but what was mentioned before about lions and larger animals, they shouldnt be secluded in such tiny spaces. Some zoos are beneficial to the animals and some can be cruel so im also torn with my decisions just based on documentaries Ive seen about animals being mistreated, but then with remarks about the endangered pandas, that sort of persuaded me. Good job over all though. Was straight forward once it got to the points where you discussed the positive attributes of having zoos.

  7. Awesome argument though Nicole. I do believe some zoos are not cruel and unnecessary to their animals but then again some zoos are cruel to their animals. I definitely believe that some zoos go on to help those who are endangered by keeping them in a sustained healthy environment. The animals there are not only to entertain us humans but they are they to be looked after as well as giving them that realistic way of life. They are important to them, entertaining us humans is only a bonus. As for some other zoos, I would say cruelty would be an explanation of “its more important to entertain us humans than it is by caring for the animals.” Some zoos don’t give their animals the healthy and respectful environment, for example beating their animals for something they haven’t done, not feeding their animals and not being able to give them the freedom that they need which is by keeping them locked up in cages. Its more the money income that they interested in, and the animals are used so that they get this. I’ll put it like this, The animals their slaves which entertain us humans given the zoo income for money. This is unnecessary. Innocent animals shouldn’t be punished for this kind of cruelty, it’s sad because they cant speak up like us..which means us as a society need to help these animals by assuring that zoos that really say their zoos aren’t treating their animals like slaves, if so then they need to banned and the animals would have to be moved into a better environment.

  8. The title of your filter blog is ensnaring! I loved how you’ve actually built on the idea that zoos are actually necessary and have ended with how beneficial they are in our society today. The ideas you have touched on are important such as the mistreatment of animals in some zoos – that was a really good point to bring up because we often find ourselves only thinking about the zoos we’ve been to and not about the ones in third world countries. I think if the layout of your filter blog was altered to be seen as one single entry, that would make a tidier improvement.

  9. I agree that some zoos are unnecessary and should be banned as they are just there to keep animals locked up for our amusement. You could argue that they are good for educating people but that’s why anywhere that animals are kept should benefit them first and if it benefits us then that’s a bonus.
    I thought that a comparison between a zoo and a wildlife sanctuary would have been interesting.
    Otherwise I think this is a good argument and enjoyed reading it 🙂

  10. I’ve seen so many horrible pictures of people mistreating animals in poorly run zoos, it’s sad. I think zoos are a good idea if they keep the animal safe from predators and poachers and have adequate space for the animals to live, the right food, etc. However if the animals aren’t endangered, don’t have enough food, space or water, then they’re just there for people to gawk at and the zoos to make money off. And that is not acceptable. I fully agree with your argument!

  11. I love the zoo so the bad side of zoos isn’t something I ever thought about. You made some really good points and it was interesting all the different things that come under the scope of a zoo. Obviously zoos that don’t treat animals well shouldn’t be allowed to continue business, maybe you could have talked about what can be done to stop zoos like that existing, and what kind of things they do now to stop it. Overall, I think you presented a well written argument with strong points.

  12. Hey Nicole, I side with you on this argument, As many people have said about zoos being for the income yes it may be so but in return some zoos do a pretty good job at keeping animals safe and secure. For some animals wherever they originally came from could have been a lot more endangering for them therefore they are more benefited living in a zoo because of the security. I do believe that there are some zoos in more isolated countries that don’t benefit these creatures which if you did more research on I may have changed my point of view. GOOD JOB 🙂

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