Definition Argument – marinebio18

Are Zoo trips really educational?

The idea of holding animals in captivity is a thought that has come and gone in society. Often, observing animals up close and personal is believed to be an educational experience while for many people that is not the case. Without zoos having an educational aspect there is no reason to exist.

An educational experience would be when a person learns new information from the act or place they are at. A piece of information that one takes from the zoo and uses it in the long run can be deemed educational. In the article “Zoos:An idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone” PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)  explains that zoos are exploitation to the animals it holds not education. Peta states that ” most zoo visitors simply wander around the grounds, pause briefly in front of some displays, and spend their time on snacks and bathroom breaks”. There is no educational value to a zoo trip if there is only a very small time spent where the animals are. The organization also explains “visitors spent less than eight seconds per snake exhibit and only one minute with the lions. Only spending such a small amount of time per animal exhibit is not a convincing argument about learning.  People should be spending minutes or even more time such as hours learning about the animals they are examining.

The other side to determining whether or not trips to see wildlife exhibits can be deemed educational is the fact that the observers are not seeing the animals in their natural habitat.  If the people are actually paying attention to how the animals are acting, the person is not getting accurate information on how the animal functions. According to PETA “numerous studies have shown that exhibiting animals in unnatural settings may undermine conservation by leaving the public with the idea that a species must not be in jeopardy if the government is allowing it to be used for display and entertainment”. Using animals for pure enjoyment rather than helping them is not educational. Animals that reside in zoos are usually not extinct, but the more the animals are brought into zoos the closer that species is to extinction because many animals die in captivity and  are not let back into the wild.  Unnatural behaviors and inaccurate information along with lack of observing can be deemed not educational. A trip being educational would mean that the person observing is learning information that is accurate, however the information is not.

According to studies by CAPS (Captive Animals’ Protection Society) in “Zoos neither educate nor empower children, newly published research suggests” the organization states that “Only 38% of children were able to demonstrate positive learning outcomes”. CAPS study also concluded that “Majority of children (62%) were deemed to show no change in learning or, worse, experienced negative learning during their trip to the zoo” It can be concluded that kids don’t really enjoy time at the zoo for the animals. Most children would rather go get souvenirs and food then see the wildlife.There are too many distractions in and around the zoo for their to be a focus on the animals, there are more food and other entertainment related aspects of a zoo on its pamphlet . Children with the desire to learn my have  an educational experience about safety of animals at a zoo leading to the realization that the animals do not belong there and need to be in their natural habitats. Furthermore children should be learning about endangered species while at zoos, in order to learn about how to protect those animals.

Works Cited

“Zoos: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone.” People For the Ethical Treatment Of Animals. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2015. <;.

“Zoos Neither Educate nor Empower Children, Newly Published Research Suggest.” Captive Animals’ Protection Society. N.p., 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2015. <;.

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3 Responses to Definition Argument – marinebio18

  1. marinebio18 says:

    feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    OK marinebio. Let’s go.

    P1. You could draw a much stronger contrast between the two points of view, mb. Basically, you claim that some say “It is,” while others respond, “No, it isn’t.” Couldn’t those who believe the time for zoos has come and gone make a powerful counterclaim that would establish a compelling reason to read further? And while it is true that you’ll want to test the definition of “educational,” you don’t have to be so transparent about your intentions. Your goal for a rewrite, if this is still your first paragraph, would be to create reader urgency AND lead us into the body paragraphs by beginning in the intro to lay out the proof instead of pointing in its direction.

    What is at stake in this argument? Are you suggesting that zoos need to be demonstrably educational to justify their existence? If so, we’d have more reason to read. Devote a sentence or two to establishing what zoos have to lose if they don’t make a case that they should not be outlawed or boycotted.

    P2. Exploitation of whom? The animals or the visitors? You keep PREPARING for the argument, mb, instead of making it. In P1 you promise that “for many” zoos are not educational. Then you promise that you’ll define educational so we’ll all recognize it. But then in P2 you counter that they are “exploitation” without providing an illustration of what education would look like.
    –The quote that describes a day at the zoo isn’t obvious exploitation. It might be a waste of time, but that’s not what you claimed.
    –Your Rhetorical Question does not persuade us; they rarely do and should be replaced with bold clear claims.
    –How long does a visitor have to spend with each exhibit to qualify as a learning experience? Zoos have dozens if not hundreds of exhibits; spending five minutes with anything means we don’t see everything. Maybe that’s your point. We go to the zoo to “capture” a look at every animal. Once it’s seen, we’re satisfied and move on. (But saying that zoo-going doesn’t compare to spending days in the wild is like objecting that we shouldn’t go to a local production of an opera because it doesn’t compare to La Scala.)

    P3. The argument you make here is too powerful to waste on a question of whether zoos are “educational” or not. Your claim is stronger: that visiting animals in a zoo costs wild animals their lives. An empty cage that explained that the animals are too rare and endangered to be spared for public display would be more educational. Instead of so many negative claims (not seen in their natural habitat / not getting accurate information / not educational / not learning accurate information), maybe you could envision and describe a more natural interaction that WOULD be educational and not place animals at risk. What would the ideal zoo look like?

    P4. This reader is skeptical of the claims you quote. An advocacy agency says “zoos don’t educate; kids don’t learn; many experience negative learning.” You’re passing along conclusions here rather than providing us the data or examples to help us draw a conclusion, mb. It’s the equivalent of saying: I found someone who agrees with me, or worse, “I read these conclusions and assumed they were valid.”
    –Convert the Rhetorical Questions to bold clear claims.
    A compelling fact would make a stronger close than your expressed hope that kids will decide for themselves to protest against animal enclosure, mb. If you looked at a map of zoo, provided by the facility, and noted that there were more legends for souvenir stations, refreshment stands, restaurants, gift shops, and restrooms than there were for endangered animals, you’d be combining a strong observation with some original research: a winning combination.

    Helpful? Reply, please.


  3. marinebio18 says:

    The feedback was useful.


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