Haley Michigan

Letter to the Next President

Animal Cruelty

Dear Future President,

When you hear the term “animal cruelty” what do you think about? There are numerous amounts of different issues related to the topic of animal cruelty. These include the abuse and abandonment of pets, animals used for experimentation, and the abuse of circus animals. When I think about animal cruelty, I think about zoos. Many would disagree and claim that zoos are beneficial to our knowledge of wild animals and beneficial to their survival, which in some cases are true. However, what most people do not understand is that the way zoos detain animals is un-natural, dangerous, and degrading. Ecological parks or animal sanctuaries should be built to substitute zoos in order to properly care for these animals.

First, ecological parks or animal sanctuaries should be built to replace zoos because zoos provide un-natural habitats. In the wild animals spend their time frolicking among natural obstacles, interacting with different animals, hunting, and just being wild. The enclosures built for these creatures are tiny compared to their natural habitats, and restrict them of all of the above. The article “Big Beasts, Tight Space, And a Call For Change” Written by Mark Derr explains the distinction between the size of the polar bear zoo enclosures versus the size of their natural habitats. He states that, “The typical zoo enclosure for a polar bear is one-millionth the size of its home range in the wild, which can reach 31,000 square miles.” Due to the restricted amount of space, animals pace these small enclosures with boredom and are unable to run and play as they would in the wild. This also impacts their health because they are unable to burn off calories which leads to unhealthy weight gain. Large open spaces like ecological parks are necessary for these animals to live as they would in the wild.

Secondly, ecological parks or animal sanctuaries should be built to replace zoos because zoos can be very dangerous for not only the animals, but the people visiting them as well. Zoo enclosures are designed for people to easily gaze upon the wildlife. However, they are not always necessarily safe. Most enclosures are surrounded in cement walls and are poorly protected. This makes it feasible for humans to possibly slip in and endanger the animals or themselves. One example of this is a fairly recent traumatic phenomenon that shocked the nation. You’ve most likely heard of the incident with the silverback gorilla known as Harambe, and the small boy that fell into his enclosure back in May of 2016. Author Mike Mcphate states that “The Cincinnati Zoo shot to death a gorilla that was manhandling a small boy who had fallen into its enclosure.” The enclosure was obviously unsafe, like most others, because safety precautions have not yet been taken for the visitors or the animals. Whether killing this animal was wrong or right, the enclosure was hazardous for harambe and the child, thus proving that zoo enclosures are dangerous.

Lastly, ecological parks or animal sanctuaries should be built to replace zoos because zoos are very degrading to the animals living in it. If you think about it, these animals have no privacy, and they are constantly being gazed upon by humans. Whether an animal is sick, dying, doing its business, or mating, someone will likely witness it. The article, “Captivity is Degrading” by Elahe Izadi states that, “In 2012, the zoo’s last polar bear, Winner, died.” The death of this animal was public and was immediately shared worldwide through the use of modern media. I don’t know about you, but if I was dying, I would not want the whole world to know about it or witness it. A few years ago, I went to the Detroit Zoo and visited the orangutan enclosure. As I met eyes with an older orangutan, I began to cry. I thought to myself, “If monkeys are so closely related to humans, why is it that we cage them up and degrade them in front of the entire world?” Because of that day, I refuse to go to the zoo. It is bizarre to imagine that some of these animals are practically showcased to their own relatives. The article “The Great Monkey Puzzle” by Chris Herzfeld states that, “An orangutan shares approximately 97 percent of its genes with humans.” Our genes are almost 100% identical to these animals, yet we lock them away and treat them like prisoners. These factors both prove that zoos are degrading towards the animals within them.

With this letter, I can conclude that the way animals are treated in zoos is unnatural, dangerous, and degrading. Action towards the protection of these animals needs to be taken immediately because before we know it, some already endangered animals will be wiped off of the face of the earth and extinction will not likely be due to natural causes. The cruelty in which humans put animals through is unbearable. Losing species that are precious to the world and the environment we live in is inequitable and needs to be taken with further caution in order to prevent a big negative impact on our planet. I ask that you please consider replacing zoos with more beneficial habitats for the health and well being of these animals.


Haley S, Michigan