What Does the Pug-lic think: Are Zoos Goat or Bat

Title actually says “What does the public think: Are zoos good or bad” in case you didn’t catch it.

Harambe’s recent death had a huge toll on the justification on zoos — should we keep these types of exhibits or boycott them? Many people disagreed with Cincinnati Zoo’s decision in killing the endangered gorilla to protect the boy, while others argued that their actions were justified. In a National Geographic article reporting Harambe’s death, the comment section displays deep affection towards Harambe’s side. While explaining what happened to Harambe, the article also added in multiple incidents similar to Harambe’s, such as:

“On May 23, a drunk man narrowly avoided injury after jumping into an enclosure at India’s Nehru Zoo Park and attempting to touch two lions. On May 21, officials at Chile’s National Zoo were forced to shoot and kill two lions, after a suicidal 20-year-old man jumped into the enclosure.”

Given multiple examples on human intrusions of animal enclosures, the readers of this article are enraged and label humans as “stupid” and the mother of the child as “negligent.” Readers are mad because animals in these enclosures are killed to protect the humans who purposefully trespassed for no argumentative reason. A user of National Geographic’s website, Gerald Miller brings out a remarkable statement:

“If the child had been killed by falling into the moat, or later by the gorilla, the zoo would be held up to lawsuits. Killing the gorilla was much easier, and less costly. If you want to learn all about humans, prisons are not the best place to observe. If you want to learn about apes, zoos are not good for this either. Gorillas, apes, and humans become mentally ill by living their lives in prisons, zoos, and other unnatural living spaces.”

Gerald Miller brings up a good point — that it is cheaper to kill the gorilla than do nothing and possibly have the child die and then deal with lawsuits from the parents. It sounds horrific to put into words because we seem to be judgmental on whose life matter in an economic stand-point but that is the reality. While many people believe that the zoo should have used a tranquilizer or dart, Miller brings up this point that the zoo had no other option: they couldn’t risk the safety of the child, as well as the reputation of the zoo for letting a child die by shooting a tranquilizer. His comment also compares the behaviors of animals to humans because humans have more ability to empathize along with human emotion rather than animal emotion. Miller used a comparison between prisons and zoos because they are the likeliest enclosures of animal and of people. We can easily picture the effects of putting someone in jail, limiting them of their accessible freedom outside the prison than how animals feel in their cages vs. outside in the wild — and of course not to mention that humans are put in jail for their misconduct in society and these animals are innocent creatures who just happened to be unluckily put into their cages. Using this comparison also helps people to imagine how miserable life is for the animals, which would help steer the viewpoints of many people that zoos are a not the best source for learning about animals.

In a previous blog post, I talked about an article that presents reasons why zoos are good. Even in a persuasive article alike this, people in the comments below disagree and say that animals should live in their natural habitats. One outstanding argument that someone with the name of “dogfilm” mentioned was the fact that humans shouldn’t create man-made spaces for animals and call them sanctuaries because the animals are safe from hunters and lack of environment. Dogfilm suggested instead,

“The resources invested in them would be better spent surely in combatting the political/economic forces that are leading to the decline and eradication of animal habitats, rather than presenting a tiny proportion of these animals in confined spaces designed primarily for the entertainment of our species.”

This one portion of dogfilm’s comment summarizes the greed of humans to take more and more from nature. As we take the resources and land from these animals, we also take their rights and trap them in places where we euphemize as “educational places.” And of course, this isn’t a summary about what zoos actually are. Truth is, zoos have both a bad and good side to it. What I am summarizing is just the majority of what people believe and display in the comment boxes of social cyber websites. And it seems, from reading a mass amount of comments, that people lean towards the fact that zoos and humans are no good and believe that humans need to be nicer to animals as well as the environment. However, what people are saying can be biased because these are the people that are pressed and mad upon the subject that they feel entitled to use their opinions and sometimes facts, to speak against it on social websites. What we aren’t reading, are the opinions of people who are totally content with the manner of zoos.

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