Boo the Zoo for the Safety of the Animals and You!


Sydney Matai

As a child, the zoo is a popular place to visit. Wander around, see all the animals and get some cotton candy. It’s a great time right? You peer through the strong metal bars of the lion habitat and lock eyes with the fiercest cat in there. But behind his intimidating slits is a sulken soul, an animal encased in a living space entirely too small for the 420 pound body which he owns. What we don’t realize when we are young, are the conditions that the captive beings that roam the small exhibits which we eagerly look at in awe for hours on end, exist in. The way they are treated is poor, the living conditions are horrendous, and many people have been injured by the animals in various cases. Zoos truly are bad.

Exotic wildlife is meant… for the wild!!! Exotic animals are meant to be kept in their natural habitats and keep their normal living conditions. It is not right to take these animals out of their habitats and construct them to the small living spaces of zoos. Lisa Wathne, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) animal specialist, told Current Events, “there are some animals, such as tigers and elephants, which roam large areas in the wild, that should never be held captive.” These animals are just a few of the many that are wrongly being kept in zoos.

Being held captive takes a large toll on the animals, and it is noticeable. Often times the animals develop issues and end up being harmed. Elephants are the biggest victims of the abuse because of their gigantic size. Elephants living in zoos are not getting enough exercise so they are very overweight, they are very stressed out and also bored. It is unfair to keep animals that large of size in such small spaces. Another species deeply affected by the limitations of zoos are cats. 75 big cats since 1990 have been killed because of such incidents with handlers and also safety or escape issues. The lifespan of animals drops dramatically when living in zoos because of the living conditions, diet, and how they are treated by their handlers. The RSPCA particularly frowns on continued efforts by many zoos to train elephants, something not done with other species. The RSPCA commented that these “hands-on” free-contact methods include the use of sharp elephant hooks, electric cattle prods, ropes and chains.”

People are injured and sometimes killed every year because of zoo animal attacks. Keeping these animals in tight quarters provokes them, and lives are lost every year. A four year old Tiger escaped its cage leaving one person dead and two wounded. The zoo from which the tiger escaped from was turned into a crime scene. Lisa Wathne also told Current Events, “Since 1990, there have been at least 220 incidents in 40 states involving big cats. Four children and 15 adults have lost their lives, and more than 50 other people lost limbs or suffered other injuries after being mauled.”

Zoos are harmful to not only the animals but also to handlers and occasionally visitors. For the safety and well being of everyone it would be best if zoos went out of business or at least got rid of the majority of the large exotic animals.