Composition Paper on Keeping Animals in Zoos
Zoos have been broadly regarded as entertaining as well as educational institutions. In fact, both adults and children often find it fascinating in visiting zoos, and a call to such institutions has been something that one would like to make. Progressively, however, a debate has emerged regarding the ethics of keeping animals in such a confined environment, as well as other creatures in captivity like situation. Animals have their rights just as humanity (Bostock 65). There are numerous zoos across the United States and all over the world that host a good number of animals for various purposes. The conditions vary immensely, with some of the worst being nothing greater than a concrete prison holding very depressed animals and this demonstrates the cruelty of the matter regarding keeping animals in zoos. Various agencies or stakeholders have held divergent views on this issue. The key contentious issue on this topic is not the significance of the zoos, but rather the ethics of keeping animals in such an environment where the stakeholders have diverse perspectives.
The paper uses two stakeholders to unfold the matter, and these are National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) as well as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). NAIA majorly focuses on promoting animal welfare, consolidating human-animal connection, protecting animals’ rights, good animal keeping practices, and has a stance that supports zoos as an entertainment and educational avenues. Alternatively, PETA champions for better animals’ rights and has the position that animals should not be used for entertainment, eat, wear, or experiment. Both organizations share similar end objectives in mind; to protect animals rights from various violations from any sect, which shall see animals live in dignity and freely. The paper, therefore, discusses the diverging perspectives of the two organizations about keeping animals in a zoo even though both stakeholders have the ultimate objective of ensuring animals rights are protected.
PETA is a United States-based animal rights agency with its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. It is a nonprofit corporation and forms the biggest animal rights organization in the world. The organization has more than five million supporters. Its mission is to have animal not to use in experiments, entertainment, wear, consumption, or abuse in any manner. Thus, from its slogan, it is clear that the primary objective of the organization is to champions for the animals’ rights and it needs animals not to be used for any wrongful purposes. PETA has its clear stance about keeping animals in the zoo. First, PETA mostly opposes zoos since the cages, as well as the confined enclosures found in zoos; deny animals the chance to satisfy their fundamental needs. PETA views that the zoo considers the animals it rounds as commodities, since animals consistently bought, borrowed, and sold without any established relations (Bostock 60). PETA views zoos as settings that preclude or restrict the natural behavior of animals, such as swimming, running, hunting, foraging, climbing, flying, scavenging, exploring, selecting right partner, etc. (Hosey et al. 30). The psychological and physical obstructions of captivity regularly lead to abnormal as well as self-destructive behavior like self-mutilation and swaying.
PETA also opposes keeping animals in zoos where they are often used for applied or basic research, toxicity testing, training, and education, in particular on both practical and moral grounds. Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA once told the Vogue magazine that PETA would oppose the use of animals for research even if it were the avenue leading to the cure for AIDS. The organization trusts that it is unreliable, wasteful, and irrelevant to the human health since scientifically induced diseases in wildlife are non-identical to diseases found in humans. PETA views zoos as areas that offer painful experiences to the enclosed animals. They say that certain actions are so harmful like invading animals’ home, netting them, subjecting them to stressful conditions that are manifested in the zoos (Bostock 60). The young animals should be with their mothers and not placed in a zoo for entertainment and educational purposes. Thus, the above are the views of PETA regarding keeping animals in a zoo.
Similarly, NAIA is also a non-profit agency in the U.S dedicated to bolstering the animal welfare, strengthening the human-animal relations, and good animal keeping practices. The organization also protects the rights of animals through public education, research, as well as public policy. The NAIA slogan is to enhance the welfare of animals. NAIA also focuses on humane animal use, animal rights, as well as the ideology that attempts to end much human usage of animals, regardless of how considerate or responsible it is (Maple 65). However, when it comes to the notion about the zoo, NAIA has a different view from that held by PETA. The stance of NAIA is that it supports the humane and responsible use of animals for medical research, clothing, assistance, education, and entertainment, which zoos largely plays a significant role (Hosey et al. 25).
According to NAIA, Zoos are amazing places that provide opportunities to people for entertainment, education, training, using the caged animals for medical research, and any human uses of the animals. The group trusts that the relations between animals in the zoo and people, on numerous levels, are essential to both. NAIA views zoo as an important avenue that safeguards a plethora of species, which otherwise would have become extinct from the earth. Thus, to them, it is a responsible way of using and handling animals. The zoos also have the ability to be educational, as well as offer opportunities for any form of scientific research and safeguard species from becoming extinct (Maple 63). This is different from PETA that sees this as a noble idea, but used differently, where most zoos usually hosts exotic as well as popular animals that can draw huge crowds and create publicity instead of threatened and endangered animal species that may become extinct (Hosey et al. 20).
The solution to this issue would involve striking a deal between the two stakeholders because both aim to protect the welfare and dignity of animals (Knight et al. 31). Since both stakeholders have divergent views about keeping animals in the zoo, it would be vital for them to recognize the significance that zoos play in the society. First, this solution is critical since one cannot totally disregard the importance of zoos however bad they may be in their view. Second, in any contentious issue, it is in the best interest for one party to drop the hardline position and reach an amicable solution to the problem at hand. Thus, to accomplish this, there must be understanding, agreement, and promise to work together as they strive to attain similar end goals that of safeguard animals rights.
In conclusion, different stakeholders or organization can have different thoughts about a similar subject even though they pursue similar agenda. This appears accurate, as it has manifested in both PETA and NAIA concerning keeping animals in the zoo. The two organizations have a similar objective; to protect animals’ rights. PETA argues that warehousing the animals for life cannot be the best way to protect them from extinction. Protecting the animals’ natural habitats would be the best way to solve the situation instead of caging them in a prison-like environment, which is not humane (Phillips 17). Alternatively, in the interest of protecting the animals’ rights, NAIA champions for any responsible or humane use of animals and thus views zoos as avenues that offer entertainment, education, training, and scientific research.
Bostock, Stephen St C. Zoos and animal rights. London: Routledge, 2003. Print.
Hosey, Geoff, Vicky Melfi, and Sheila Pankhurst. Zoo animals: behaviour, management, and welfare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Print.
Knight, Sarah, and Louise Barnett. “Justifying attitudes toward animal use: a qualitative study of people’s views and beliefs.” Anthrozoös 21.1 (2008): p. 31-42.
Maple, Terry L. “Toward a science of welfare for animals in the zoo.” Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 10.1 (2007): p. 63-70.
NAIA. National Animal Interest Alliance. 18 June 2015. Document. 20 January 2017.
PETA. “Animal Rights Uncompromised: Zoos.” 23 August 2016. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals . Document. 20 January 2017.
Phillips, C. J. C. “Student attitudes on animal sentience and use of animals in society.” Journal of Biological Education 40.1 (2005): p. 17-24.