Megan U. Idaho

Zoos in America

Zoos are cruel and unfair to animals and America needs to put a stop to them.

Dear Next President,

Imagine being trapped in a puny enclosure, thousand and thousands of feet less than what you’re used to. Your only entertainment is little toys, a sloppy second to the climbing, running, and hunting that you would usually be doing right now. You are constantly being stared at, the glass of your prison cell being poked and tapped and pounded on while your ears are being assaulted 24/7 by screaming children. This is how zoo animals feel. In American zoos, animals are bored, sad, and frustrated. This causes animal aggression and a lot more devastating consequences. Although zoos may be entertaining to humans, they are cruel to animals and America needs to put a stop to them.

For as long as I can remember, I have heard about animals in zoos hurting themselves, other animals, or people. As the PETA Kids article, “5 Secrets Zoos Don't Want You to Know,” states, “Animals in zoos are kept in cramped spaces with virtually no privacy and have very few opportunities to exercise or keep their minds active. Living without these important things often causes “zoochosis,” a condition in which animals act strangely and even hurt themselves out of boredom and frustration.” This shows that what animals can do in captivity and what they normally would do in the wild are very different, causing problems for their health. It also proves that being in captivity takes a mental and physical toll on wild animals, and that it is not healthy for animals to be kept in zoos.

Take Tilikum, for instance. Tilikum is a forty year old orca whale who has lived at Seaworld nearly all his life, and he has been involved in the deaths of three people. Seaworld wants you to think that the orcas are happy and healthy, much happier than they’d be in the wild. Alas, the whales at Seaworld, especially Tilikum’s, lives are not as they seem. The whales are sad and bored, causing them to lash out at humans. As Tim Zimmermann at National Geographic says in “Tilikum, SeaWorld’s Killer Orca, Is Dying,” “Tilikum demanded the world confront his reality, Shamu’s reality, which involved separation from family, confinement, boredom, chronic disease, aggression among marine park killer whales, and aggression against trainers.” This is proof that the whales lives would be substantially better if they weren’t in captivity, and it also proves that being in captivity caused the whales to lash out at humans, causing both human and animal death and injury.

Another burning question I have about zoos is, “Do they really care about animals?” The more I think over this question the more I realize that they do care about animals, but that animal care is probably not they’re top goal. Getting money and creating business is their top goal. The PETA Kids article "5 Secrets Zoos Don't Want You to Know" also states, “Not a single U.S. zoo has a policy of providing the animals born at its facility with lifetime care, so zoos often trade, loan, or sell adult animals who aren’t making them as much money as when they were younger.” The fact that not one U.S. zoo has a lifetime care program shows that animals are not zoo’s number one priority, making money is.

Some people may say that we should keep zoos because they are good for the economy, or that they employ people. Those are valid points, but they have a simple solution. Zoos cost money, it is expensive to house and feed animals. Also, in cases like the zoo in my hometown of Boise, Idaho, zoos are paid for by the city. If we get rid of zoos, there will be more money for things like schools, parks, libraries, etc.

In conclusion, zoos are a big problem. They cause a lot more trouble than they’re worth. They cause animal aggression, and they risk both human well being and animal lives. It is not healthy or natural for animals to be cooped up in tiny enclosures, being stared at all the time. So, though zoos may be fun for humans, they are cruel to animals and it is not fair to them to keep them enclosed in zoos. As the President of the United States, you have a responsibility to not just the people of America, but the animals of America. So please, let’s solve the problem that is zoos.

Thank you for Your Time, Next President

Sincerely, Megan

East Junior High

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