Animals in Captivity
Pros & Cons
Almost every kid can think back to their childhood and recall a Sunday trip to the Zoo, a family vacation to Sea World, or even to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. The size and ferocity of animals in these habitats leave even adults amazed and in awe, but when you visit a zoo, Sea World, or another man made animal habitat, does it ever cross your mind how the animals feel to live day after day in the same small enclosure?
Whether or not animals belong in captivity has been a debate for years. Caging wild animals may have serious consequences as animals are deprived of their natural environmental, psychological and social surroundings. In essence, caging wild animals is similar to caging a human for no other reason than to gawk at its peculiarity. Caging wild animals is similar to jailing the innocent or simply put, inhumane.
Recent events however may prove that animals should not be held in captivity. Just a few years ago, a 17-year old boy was killed and two other men severely injured when a 350 pound Siberian Tiger mauled all three of them at the San Francisco Zoo.
In 2003, a white tiger attacked Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy during one of their famous Las Vegas magic shows. Luckily Roy survived the attack but was left severely injured and disabled.
Most recently, a killer whale attacked and killed one of its trainers at Sea World in Orlando, Florida while practicing a routine performed daily at the establishment. The attack was bloody and violent. It was surely no accident on the part of Tilikum the whale. No one may ever know what triggers captive animals to become suddenly aggressive. It may be argued that these animals are forced to act on their instinctive frustrations on helpless individuals because they have no other options when caged in these enclosures.
There is of course an argument as to why animals should be held captive — conservation. There are hundreds of endangered species that are only alive today because their species were preserved in man-made environments. In addition to preventing the depletion of certain species, conservation parks and zoos allow for education of animal preservers and veterinarians. If these places didn’t exist it is possible that many species we know today would also not exist, leaving a whole in the environmental food chain.
There is no doubt that the death of innocent individuals by captive animals is unfortunate and possibly preventable. Who is to say, though, that these animals would have not found innocent individuals to attack elsewhere? No one knows what may happen if animals were never held in captivity, but the fact is that much more is known about these animals by studying them in captivity – facts that will hopefully be used to prevent future animal attacks.