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St. Bede's Catholic College

ST Bede's

Catholic College


    Are zoos degrading to animals?

    What first impressions come to mind when you see or hear the word ‘zoo’, is it that it’s a place for animals to be safe from the wild or that it’s something nice to entertain the kids. Although maybe it’s just a place for animals to suffer. I’m sure most of you remember going to the zoo as a child and loved the whole experience from seeing all the wild animals to having a nice time with the family. But there are some questions we have to ask ourselves about zoos and their consideration towards animals. For too long, animals across the world living in captivity, suffer from death or poor lifestyles due to the conditions in a zoo. A staggering figure released by the BBC showed between 3,000 and 5,000 zoo and aquarium animals are killed each year in Europe alone. This is both believed to be due to the actions by zoo keepers, treating animals poorly and the conditions of zoos across Europe.

    Is this problem occurring in most zoos across the UK and elsewhere?

    Bristol Zoo had been awarded best in the UK for its project on bioacoustics, ecology and conservation of amphibians in Northwest Madagascar. It was also awarded second best for conservation at the zoo and for its marketing effort during the Saving Wildlife Together Campaign. The zoo had also been shortlisted in the top 10 UK zoos by the Zoo Federation. Others shortlisted included London Zoo, Chester Zoo and Edinburgh Zoo. Even though many zoos across the UK have been given this reputation of being good to animals by raising them well as well as helping them with conservation and breeding programmes, there is still a staggering amount of zoos that are in poor conditions and housing animals poorly. There are more than 400 zoos in the UK today though according to a recent study, more than three quarters of British zoos are failing to meet minimum animal welfare standards, breeding programmes and other factors. As well as this, tigers, elephants and chimpanzees including other species have never been successfully released into the wild by UK zoos. Other problems involve hygiene with conditions in zoos and strong evidence shows that some British zoos dispose of Surplus animals (having more animals that are needed) either by killing them or selling them to illegal and unethical exotic-animal dealers.  

    Examples of this include culling and putting down animals. Especially in Copenhagen zoo, where it’s zoo keepers have put down leopards, tigers, lions, bears, antelopes and hippos in recent years. As well as this, many animals across the world suffer in captivity due to the lack of space in zoos, behaviour problems due to stress; poor breeding programmes e.g. animals dying prematurely due to factors in zoos such as predation. Others factors include how some UK zoos are, shockingly, connected to animal circuses. This included Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and West Midlands Safari park who both had connections with circuses such as the Great British circus and travelling circuses in Japan. Animals involved included three tigers in 2009 and lion cubs in 2013. Animals in zoos commonly show abnormal and self-destructive behaviour due to confinement and a lack of stimulation. This can really stress an animal and this can be seen when the animal starts pacing or walking in tight circles. To stop this, zoo keepers sometimes give the animals anti-depressants, tranquilisers or anti-psychotic drugs to try and hide the distress. Due to this behaviour, animals have tried to escape from their enclosures resulting in tragic consequences. Bulls, chimpanzees and Lemurs are just some of the animals who have tried to escape from their enclosures in UK zoos and this reflects how unhappy animals are and how they want to be free.

    There are over 10,000 zoos worldwide, housing animals in captivity. Many of these zoos stand out not for helping out animals, providing them with a good home in captivity, instead treating them like slaves in a prison. They’re provided with shameful neglect as these animals are kept in dirty and empty enclosures with unclean water and the scraps of food and leftovers. Left to suffer and die, these bony, skinny animals need our help to save them from their poor enclosures of the zoos to the fresh habitats of the wild. Buenos Aires Zoo in Argentina is an example of this, where after 140 years of keeping animals in captivity, it’s being closed down. There are 2,500 animals currently in the zoo,  all of them suffering from poor conservation and conditions, where they were put in cages. Many of the zoo’s animals died from poor treatment and inadequate conditions. It is hoped that most of the animals will be set free into the wild while others will move to other zoos around the country.

    This might be a positive result to helping these poor animals from suffering however there are many zoos across the world that are in the same state as Buenos Aires Zoo that are yet to be closed down. This means that in the future we all have to help tackle this problem to reduce the poor treatment towards animals not only in zoos but in entertainment, circuses, animal testing, and aquariums. In my opinion, I have provided you with clear information outlining why zoos are degrading to animals. I believe that we must stand up for what is right and tackle what is wrong and create a better future for animals in captivity.



    Review on Bristol Zoo

    Bristol Zoo is our local zoo which the public love very dearly and a zoo that reals our community in to help and improve it. It is based in Clifton, Bristol and its mission is to educate us about nature and endangered species. However, over the years, they have gotten rid of their larger, more popular animals. This is understandable as they may not be able to afford it, but they, do not take care of their animals in the best possible way. Lions are seen pacing and struggling to stay calm as they have no space to run freely and the monkeys (baboons) are seen fighting one another and acting as if they are tortured.

    During Christmas 2017, there were Santa Grottos set up.  However the Santas were not skilled or even comfortable with the children. Many parents and carers believed that they deserved their money back.

    I have asked the people of Facebook, what they think of our zoo.  The results were quite positive –saying, for example, that they offer brilliant education about the animals and for postgraduate courses and how well the layout is. The only concerns people have is that it is a little expensive to eat there and parking is generally a nightmare! Likewise, how small the lion enclosure is. But overall, it is an enjoyable day out for people of all ages.



    There’s No Place like Home

    So repetitive.  Pacing up and down with no end.  Based on a report by the Guardian newspaper, “Tigers and lions have around 18,000 times less space in zoos than they would in the wild. Whereas, Polar Bears have one million times less space.”  Surely this is wrong?

    We’re able to roam around the world and travel to places, yet animals are confined into insignificant spaces.  How is that fair?  After all animals were here before us.

    As people, we know when we should give our friends space and privacy. It’s something that we expect as humans and take for granted.  Imagine having to perform in front of everyone an act just so you can eat.  Animals that live in zoos are put on display for entertainment rather than education, which is meant to be a positive of a zoo. It is said that the zoos are good for learning about animals, however in 2010, a Government-commissioned study found that “Concerns remain, however, with regard to the lack of available evidence about the effectiveness” of conservation and education projects in zoos.  People are so oblivious taking pictures with their flash on, not thinking of how it will affect the animals.  People harass animals just like celebrities get harassed by paparazzi. 

    Once the animals are put or born in the zoo, they can’t be put back into the wild, as they had adapted to this controlled lifestyle.  They wouldn’t be able to survive.  So why should they take them from the wild originally?  Wild animals injured or abandoned in the forest are brought to the zoo for proper care, which is a positive aspect of the zoo.  However CAPs recorded that “79% of all animals in UK aquariums were caught in the wild. Sea Life aquariums admitted to taking animals from the wild as recently as 2013.”  Helping endangered animals is appropriate but taking perfectly satisfied animals away from their home is wrong!

    Even if a zoo keeper hid a piece of meat for the lion to find so that they can hunt, the meat doesn’t have a pulse, it isn’t moving.  It’s nothing in comparison to what they would or should have.  Not only do they not have the hunting lifestyle but a government study said “lions in zoos spend 48% of their time pacing, a recognised sign of behavioural problems.”  This shows that some animals are clearly not comfortable in the enclosure.

    Unless they have been in a bad situation in the wild, they just won’t enjoy it and there’s no going back.

    In conclusion, from the facts evident, I think that zoos are inhumane, cruel and wrong and should be dealt with.

    There’s no place like home.



    Confined to a Bathtub

    Sea world is a place of education, conservation and entertainment… Right? But, would a place of conservation confine a creature, which swims hundreds of miles per day, to the equivalent of a bathtub? For an orca at Sea world, they would need to swim the circumference of their tank over 1400 times a day to be able to match the distance they cover in the wild. Somehow people have mixed up conservation with slavery.

    Female orcas can live for up to 100 years in the wild, yet half of the Orcas that have died in captivity have died after only 4 years and only 5% make it to 20 years. Not one orca in Sea World has ever died naturally of old age.

    Orcas live in family groups in the wild and stay with them for their entire lives. Knowing this, marine parks still capture calves and put them in tanks with complete strangers, leaving the pod devastated and the calf traumatized. As well as this, Orcas are trained to do tricks and perform, purely for the entertainment of visitors, leaving them depressed and lonely. Orcas have never been recorded to have killed a human in the wild and yet in captivity they have become aggressive which has resulted in the death of other Orcas and even trainers.

    Trainers go to Sea World because they love animals and leave for the exact same reason as Sea World is merely a place of profit, cruelty and slavery.


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