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Are zoos cruel? I'm sorry if I sound stupid, but I've only been to the zoo a few times, and never thought of it as being really cruel. But I see a lot of vegans are against it. I've never really liked that they're taking animals out of their natrual habitat and substituting it, but my zoo is working with foundations and organizations to help endangered animals. Thoughts? I'm so confused. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":confused:">
 

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I wouldn't say that they're cruel necessarily, but unethical yes, because<br><br>
1. Preventing an animal from enjoying his/her natural environment and freedom to roam in it cannot be justified by benefits to the species as a whole; and anyway, if you really want to protect wild animals, that's what sanctuaries are for.<br>
2. The whole idea of zoos to me represents a very obvious kind of selfishness: it is not fitting for us humans to interact with non-humans in a way in which they get to have their say, where it is done as a mutual process -- where they can avoid us or escape if they want to, for example. Rather, we need to own and control them and place them for display in a manner that is convenient for us. We subjugate their genuine "wildness" into entertainment for humans.<br>
3. I am the Post Count, trust me on the two points above.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">my zoo is working with foundations and organizations to help endangered animals. Thoughts? I'm so confused. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":confused:"></div>
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How are they helping endangered wild animals? Are they repopulating by returning them to their natural habitats or simply engaging in captive breeding programs that trade non-CITES species from zoo to zoo and selling the overstock to animal dealers? By their own AZA-funded study from a few years ago, most member zoos fail at their stated goals of public education about wildlife/endangered species and habitat conservation. They are primarily an entertainment medium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Bluejeans84</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2841282"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
How are they helping endangered wild animals? Are they repopulating by returning them to their natural habitats or simply engaging in captive breeding programs that trade non-CITES species from zoo to zoo and selling the overstock to animal dealers? By their own AZA-funded study from a few years ago, most member zoos fail at their stated goals of public education about wildlife/endangered species and habitat conservation. They are primarily an entertainment medium.</div>
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Ehhh... I can't remember. Last time I went, which was quite a few months ago, I just remember reading something about them helping endangered animals. I'll look up more tomorrow and tell you, I'm too tired right now.
 

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I support our country zoo, they only put injured animals in that wouldn't survive in the wild.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2841332"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I wouldn't say that they're cruel necessarily, but unethical yes, because<br><br>
1. Preventing an animal from enjoying his/her natural environment and freedom to roam in it cannot be justified by benefits to the species as a whole; and anyway, if you really want to protect wild animals, that's what sanctuaries are for.<br>
2. The whole idea of zoos to me represents a very obvious kind of selfishness: it is not fitting for us humans to interact with non-humans in a way in which they get to have their say, where it is done as a mutual process -- where they can avoid us or escape if they want to, for example. Rather, we need to own and control them and place them for display in a manner that is convenient for us. We subjugate their genuine "wildness" into entertainment for humans.<br>
3. I am the Post Count, trust me on the two points above.</div>
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I agree with this. It's possible some zoos do some good for conservation but all my experiences with them have been downright depressing. Your first point is very important, <i>you don't have to put animals in zoos for entertainment to rehabilitate/protect them.</i> There are plenty of animal sanctuaries and wilderness reserves that do a much better job of protecting animals without exploiting them or keeping them in cages, in my opinion.<br><br>
And from what I've seen visiting zoos as a kid a lot of animals do <i>terribly</i> in captivity and really hate it. The apes and big cats in particular always seem depressed and restless being in such a confined area, I remember asking my mom why the monkeys looked so sad and the tigers looked so angry. It's possible there are some animals that don't know or care they are in captivity (possibly fish) but we have no way of being able to tell what they are feeling for sure, and I think it's safe to assume any creature does better in its natural habitat than it does in an artificial one that only mimics what it's used to. I don't imagine a polar bear can be really happy surrounded by concrete in the summer heat with only a small pool to swim in, and what elephant would rather stand around behind a fence all day than wander freely with their family?<br><br>
I haven't looked up statistics for other animals but I know for a fact whales undergo a lot of emotional and physical stress in captivity and they have greatly reduced lifespans: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captive_orca#Issues_with_captivity" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captive...with_captivity</a>
 

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Google is my friend:<br><a href="http://www.topnews.in/elephants-kept-zoos-have-shorter-lifespan-wild-elephants-298147" target="_blank">Elephants Kept In Zoos Have Shorter Life-Span Than Wild Elephants</a><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">“There has been little research into the welfare of zoo elephants. That is despite long-standing concerns that they suffer behavioral problems in captivity, such as pacing up and down and infanticide, as well as obvious physical <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#990033;">signs</span></span> of stress, such as lameness,” reported Georgia Mason.<br><br>
Dr Mason added, “There have been suggestions that zoo elephants have quite short life spans compared to the elephants in the wild and, furthermore, the zoo populations, particularly in the US, consume rather than produce elephants, so that the populations are not self-sustaining.”</div>
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Not surprising <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I looked around on their website, but I couldn't find much. However, I remember a specific time they were talking about sea lions. They saved quite a few in the wild and were letting them heal before letting them go. But I only heard of it with the sea lions and not the other animal. BTW, does anybody know what Saving Species With Science is? Apparently they're working with them.
 

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It is one of those things that I think vegans have to take a stand on. Safari Parks, I have seen contributing to conservation programs at lot more and I personally struggle with a bit more ethically, but zoos are something I can outright say 'no' with, because when you see the habitats that the poor creatures have, you know it's never big enough.
 

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I think it depends on the zoo. For every good zoo there are probably 100 bad ones.
 

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I've never liked zoos. Even as a child, I was uncomfortable with them. It never seemed right to confine the animals to such small living spaces. I always felt bad for them.
 

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some zoos also don't have enough space for animals. i remember the one i went to as a kid (in russia), those were horrible. just cages, no room to walk or run for bigger animals
 

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I do know going to school to be a Veterinary Nurse a few years ago we had to take a class trip to the zoo and help the zookeepers for the day. I agree that I think most, if not all the animals there are a bit wonky from being captive. The apes especially look very depressed. The big cats are always sleeping. What interest me the most, however, is that the zookeepers and staff at the zoo believe that what they are doing is truly a good thing. Here is a quote about their "Cheetah Conservation Program"-<br><br>
"To educate the public and other stakeholders on matters relating to the cheetah, to support sound scientific research and to develop programs in southern Africa so that the cheetah's race will be one of survival, not extinction."<br><br>
What also confuses me is that they also refer to the cheetahs as livestock. I as many of you, do not like that word.<br><br>
Off-topic- I am not longer a Veterinary Nurse because I could not deal with all the suffering, and quite honestly it really bothers me how some of the veterinarians treat their patients as a big science project, of course, most human doctors are the same way.
 

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I think it's wrong to keep wild animals in captivity for human purposes, full stop. Even if this wasn't true, a lot of animals become depressed, exibit unnatrual behavour that indicates they're destressed. It doesn't take a genius to work out that the vast majority of zoos do not provide a lot of stimulation, or natrual habitats/room to exibit natrual behavour, and that the conditions they're kept in are so far from what the animals would be in in their natrual habitat. Even in a country with some of the strictest animal welfare laws (I'm talking about the UK) I have read stories of animals going insane or becomming incredibly distressed in zoos here.<br><br>
There are cases where animals cannot be released into the wild, or need to be rehabilitated in some way, and in a few situations zoos are good places for this and do good work, but in a lot of other situations they'd be better of in safari parks, national parks, or other more natural/free institutions. Furthermore, many animals in zoos are just there for entertainment - and the few animals/bits of work done for conversation purposes are used as justification.<br><br>
I don't know about all zoos - so maybe some are good places, but as a rule of thumb I don't support zoos and don't consider them to be compatible with vegan values. Even before I was vegetarian I was uncomfortable with zoos, and seeing animals that would normally roam huge areas in small concreate pens.
 
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