Definition Argument—jcirrs

Beloved animals are close to our hearts. Whether it is a pet or wild, everyone has a favorite animal. What if you were told that your favorite animal was endangered? This means that a specific species of creatures are seriously at risk for extinction. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has been keeping orca whales, and other sea life, captive for over fifty years. SeaWorld does more harm to the orca species than good, causing the whales to become endangered in the wild.

Many animals in the zoo are starving and dying behind their cages. But too often, the causes of suffering tend to smudge our view of what is wrong. Animals in cages might automatically lead to us responding with sadness, but captivity might not be as awful as we think. This doesn’t mean all or even most captivity is a good thing. We shouldn’t believe all captivity is bad or, the opposite, all animals free in the wild are good. We all manage our needs. Some animals that are endangered are being helped in captivity by keeping them alive, but others are slowly dying. The natural world and the wild world cannot guarantee a great life for any creature. This also goes for the orcas captured by SeaWorld. The age of the whale in captivity depends on what age they were captured at and how well its trainer takes care of him or her.

A large debate is whether or not to keep animals in zoos. 67% of people say no, and 33% said yes. A few arguments presented for no include: once an animal is taken from the wild and placed in a zoo, it will never return to the wild. Taking an animal out of the wild can cause endangerment. Animals are being taken away from their territory, natural habitat, and their families. Most people view zoos as prisons and a sick form of entertainment. A few arguments for yes are: captive animals are given a good amount of food and never have to worry about starving. They help keep the rare species alive by their breeding programs. A good zoo provides an enriched habitat in which the animals are never bored, are well cared-for, and have plenty of space. Zoos help rehabilitate wildlife and take in exotic pets that people no longer want or are no longer able to care for.

Work Cited

“Should We Keep Animals in Zoos?” Should We Keep Animals in Zoos? N.p., 2013. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Moosa, Tauriq. “Is Animal Captivity Wrong? | Big Think.” Big Think. N.p., 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

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3 Responses to Definition Argument—jcirrs

  1. jcirrs says:

    Feedback was requested.

    Feedback provided.


  2. davidbdale says:

    OK, jcirrs. Thank you for your patience.

    P1. Let me try to help you build a well-organized paragraph from the elements you have provided. Here’s what we have so far:

    1) Beloved animals are close to our hearts.
    2) Everyone has a favorite animal.
    3) Imagine your favorite animal was endangered.
    4) If so, it would be at serious risk of extinction.
    5) SeaWorld keeps orca whales in captivity.
    6) As a result, orcas are endangered.

    1-4) The first four sentences accomplish one job, to suggest that a favorite animal might soon be extinct.
    5-6) The last two sentences accomplish one job, to claim that SeaWorld endangers animals by keeping them in captivity.

    1-4) Your first four sentences address too many audiences, jcirrs, to accomplish these simple but essential jobs. First you address US (our hearts). Then you address EVERYONE (has a favorite). Then you address YOU (were told). Then you draw a conclusion about animals. After all that work, you don’t identify orca whales as anybody’s favorite, so you haven’t given readers anything specific to consider.

    5-6) Now, when you DO mention orca’s we don’t know why. You haven’t identified orcas as a favored animal worthy of our special protection, and keeping them in captivity seems like a favor to us, giving us a chance to see them up close. Your last sentence falls flat because we have no vested interest in the orca through five sentences.

    Consider this alternative:

    Many visitors to SeaWorld leave the park with a new favorite animal; the upclose experience with the massive but gentle black-and-white orca whales endears them to humans from our first encounters with them. We are grateful to SeaWorld for bringing us close to these animals we would never have met otherwise. But we are killing them. By taking them from the wild where they thrive and confining them to tanks at the water park, SeaWorld does more harm than good to orcas, helping to land them on the endangered species list.

    Do you see the advantage of being specific about orcas from the very first sentence? The sooner readers are engaged with a particular animal, the more they care about dangers to that animal. You provide both a reason to worry and a villain to blame in just a few sentences.

    P2. Once you’ve established that a single park endangers a particular species, you can expand the scope of your argument with a simple transition that links P1 to P2. I suggest: “And the orca is not the only species endangered by parks and zoos.”

    Now, without warning, you completely switch “sides.” It’s wonderful that you’re willing to find a nuanced position between praising parks and condemning them, but you must carefully and completely identify the several opinions on this matter before you start offering all of them spontaneously.

    First completely describe the “more harm than good” position. If “captivity might not be as awful as we think,” save that for later. If “the natural world cannot guarantee a good life for animals,” save that too.

    In other words, devote P2 to a complete presentation of the “more harm than good” position.

    Then transition to the completely understandable and essential “zoos serve an important function in rescuing animals from the wild and promoting their cause to sympathetic humans” point of view.

    P3 becomes P4, where you compare the relative merits of the two points of view. But, and this is essential, YOU MUST PROMOTE ONE OR THE OTHER. No good comes from your “balanced examination” of the alternatives. You will support one and refute the other.

    If you want to save all your refutations for the Refutation Argument, that’s a reasonable approach. If so, you’ll spend all your time here in P4 (and P5 and P6 if you need them) to advance the positive benefits of your chosen position.

    Is that helpful, jcirrs?
    Reply, please.


  3. jcirrs says:

    Yes, this was helpful. Thank you.


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