Q:

What are the pros and cons of zoos?

A:

Quick Answer

Supporters of zoos argue that they educate the public, foster appreciation for animals, protect endangered species and help animals breed. Critics argue that zoos unethically imprison animals, confine them to boring or stressful lives and even support the mistreatment or death of some animals.

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Full Answer

Zoo proponents claim that zoos provide a valuable service by educating people about animals, About.com reports. Allowing the public to view animals up close and learn more about them helps people develop a greater appreciation of animals and a desire to protect them. Zoos also protect endangered species, housing rare animals in a comfortable environment where they are safe from poachers, predators, starvation and habitat loss. Some zoos also have breeding programs for endangered species that might have trouble mating in the wild.

Opponents of zoos argue that, regardless of the educational value of zoos, humans have no right to capture, breed and display animals, even those that are endangered, reports About.com. They also argue that animals in captivity are more likely to suffer from both stress and boredom. Animal families are often broken apart when members are sold or traded to other zoos. Even the most spacious enclosure, opponents argue, gives an animal nowhere near the freedom it would have in the wild. Zoo life also can lead to overpopulation, which some zoos deal with by selling animals to other zoos, circuses, hunting ranches or even slaughterhouses.

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