White Paper – marinebio18

Holding Wild Animals in captivity is Unethical


  • Physical abuse to the animals
  • mental abuse to the animals
  • in captivity to help hurt animals
  • endangered species
  • environmental factors

Practice Opening #1

Public exhibits of wild animals have been existed through the history of the world, but have expanded throughout the years.Every day thousands of people visit wildlife in captivity such as zoo’s and aquariums. Although many people believe that zoo’s and aquariums are educational trips, people aren’t aware of the harmful affects captivity has on the animals and their behavior. It is unethical to put wild animals in captivity if the animal is not harmed.

Practice Opening #2:
Today, approximately 5,000 tigers are held in captivity, compared to 3,200 that are in the wild. Many other types of animals such as elephants face captivity and are close to being extinct in the wild. Public exhibits of animals have been around throughout history. As the years pass the public exhibits have developed from personal possession into zoo’s and aquariums around the world. Many people who visit the public displays are not aware of the mental and physical affects being in captivity cause to the animals. Public exhibits of animals for enjoyment are unethical.

Marine Animals in Captivity:

The environment plays a large role in physical harming of wild life in captivity.  Chlorine from the large tanks the marine animals swim in is not normal for their skin or eyes. Marine animal suffer from lack of stimulation from the environment in captivity. Their tanks are too small and too different from their natural environment.

“In an aquarium they [killer whales] will spend up to 50 per cent of their time at the surface, which is probably the reason they sometimes suffer from dorsal fin collapse”.

Zoos: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone

Zoos are a thing of the past. Around the world some places are taking action in saving the wild animals. According to PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals) a specific occasion took place, “In August 2013, for example, the Costa Rican government announced that it would close the country’s public zoos and release some animals into the wild and send others to sanctuaries.”

PETA has reported :”A study conducted by the Captive Animals’ Protection Society concluded that 90 percent of public aquariums studied had animals who showed stereotypic (neurotic) behavior, such as repeatedly raising their heads above the surface of the water, spinning around an imaginary object, and frequently turning on one side and rubbing along the floor of the tank.”

It is nearly impossible to function properly in zoo enclosures and tanks. No one zoo would ever be big enough to make their animals have a natural habitat. PETA explains “Given that the average tiger enclosure is about 18,000 times smaller than the animals’ natural roaming range, it is simply impossible for these animals to express instinctive behavior such as staking out territory in dense forests, choosing mates, running, climbing, and hunting”

Keeping Animals in Zoos is unethical

An article that was published for “point counterpoint” showed that many people are against zoos because it is unethical to keep animals locked up in an unnatural habitat.

According to Gaurav Sharma,”animals will show their natural traits only in their natural surroundings.”

Shayan Ghan argues the opposite of most people about zoos “keeping animals in zoos is not unethical. It becomes unethical when the animals are deprived from proper facilities and are not maintained well.

Ghan also argued that “sometimes keeping an animal in zoo becomes necessary to save it from extinction and the animal thrives there comfortably”.

Zoo Chimps’ Mental Health Affected By Captivity

Monkeys are most commonly used for various experiments. Jenifer Viegas from Discovery News shared multiple scientists story of working with wild chimps.

“I have lived and worked in East Africa, following free-living chimpanzees through the forest on a daily basis,” said Newton-Fisher. “With that experience, personally I find it hard seeing chimpanzees in zoos.”

“Over 50 percent of all school children aged between 7 and 14 showed improvements in their knowledge of animals, habitat and conservation after just a single zoo visit.”

Overview of the Law Affecting Zoos

There are not an abundant set of laws for zoos and aquariums. In today’s society most people who fork up the money and sign the papers can have access to a wild animals.

“In the past, animals were kept in small cages and used by rulers to display their wealth and satisfy the curiosity and fascination surrounding wild creatures.

*may not use this source anymore

Working Hypotheses

  1. Keeping wild animals in captivity is unethical because of physical and mental problems that arise.
  2. Zoos and aquariums are unethical and have little to no educational value because the animals are in an unnatural habitat.

Topics for smaller papers

  • Specifically about just marine life in captivity. How the animals are affected physically and mentally in their tanks.
  • rescuers who save animals from the wild who are hurt and bring them into captivity to help them recover. Sometimes it is necessary to capture the animals for their well being in the future.
  • mental health of wildlife in zoos. Explore the types of reactions that animals have in their unnatural environment.
  • explain how are zoo trips are not educational. Most people spend little to no time actually examining the wild animals.

Current State of research

As of today my current state of research is going well.  I need research my topic further to get more sources. I specifically want to bring up in my paper about how some animals are taken into captivity for health purposes not enjoyment. I’m trying to figure out if my topic is counter intuitive enough. I am in the process of deciding exactly what I want to argue about in my paper. I am stuck between zoos and  aquariums being unethical and the lack of educational value in zoos and aquariums.

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