Zoos are horrible for not just animals, but for humans too. Zoos put humans and animals into contact in far too many situations that wouldn’t have occurred naturally.
In recent news, Harambe the gorilla was killed when a child fell into his enclosure. There is a strong argument that the zookeeper’s did the right thing in killing the gorilla; they didn’t know whether the gorilla was going to harm the boy, or if the tranquilizers would act fast enough to sedate the gorilla.
But in reality, if gorillas had never been put into that zoo in the first place, there would have been no enclosure for the kid to fall into and no reason for an animal to be shot. Zoos are harmful to humans too, and a lot of the time, the blame falls on the animals for being too aggressive or uncontrollable. But, as I said before, if zoos weren’t a thing in the first place, there would be severely less unnatural encounters between animals and humans.
In the last 20 years, 42 animals have been killed because they escaped their enclosure or were getting too close to a human. And also in that time, 15 humans have been killed and 100 injured because the animal becomes aggravated or upset.
But when you think about it, it’s no real surprise that animals are acting out in such aggressive behaviors. With the animals being kept inside such small enclosures, it can often be devastating to the animals mental health. And the injustices don’t stop there.
In one zoo, in order to protect the mental health of a bunch of penguins, the penguins were put on antidepressants. People were defending the zoo saying that they were giving the animals the medicine to protect and them, and that the medicine was for the animals “best interest”. But animals shouldn’t need to be put on antidepressants in the first place. Zoos create such an unnatural and unhealthy setting that it is detrimental to the mental health of thousands of animals.
Another injustice that has occured in a zoo was absolutely horrible. A giraffe, who was middle aged and still had over half of its life left, was injured when roaming in its exhibit. The price to repair the injury to the giraffe was pretty expensive, so rather than paying to have it healed, it was fed to the lions in the zoo, and when the zoo director was questioned on why they did this, he said that the giraffe was no longer “useful” to the zoo and that this was the right thing to do.
And yes, while the giraffe might have experienced the same fate in the wild, it is horrible to see. Zoos should be the one place that is protecting animals, including healing them when they get hurt. If zoos are supposed to be place that teaches about conservation and protecting animals, then all the animals there should be safe. And while there are plenty of healthy places where animals can go to get reprieve if they are injured, every single zoo should act as a place of refuge and safety for all animals.