Kialo requires cookies to work correctly.
Should Zoos Be Banned?
Zoos cause suffering and harm to animals.
Philosopher Peter Singer explains how the only morally consistent principle of equality lies in the idea of
equal consideration of interests
. If this is accepted, there is no morally justifiable reason to treat animal life as less valuable than humans.
Keeping wild animals confined and on display is degrading.
Animals confined to zoos suffer negative psychological effects.
Zoos cannot replicate the natural environment of animals.
Zoos have to kill some animals that are closely related genetically to avoid inbreeding. Exchanges between zoos are not always possible and can be traumatic.
Animals held in zoos can be exposed to
, which may reduce their well-being.
Zoos are unealthy for some animals.
If we have a duty not to cause humans suffering then we also have a duty not to cause animals suffering.
Zoos prioritise human enjoyment over animal suffering.
Zoos face a risk of falling attendance, as has happened with many other traditional venues of human entertainment, such as
. Zoos might make changes at the expense of animal well-being in order to adjust in cases of dropping attendance rates.
Some animals are subjected to physical abuse and neglect at zoos.
Like with pets, zoo animals lead lives that are safer and of higher quality than if they had been left to fight for their survival in the wild.
Zoos often function as large/dangerous animal hospitals/hospices. Animals that are injured, sick, or in need of surgery are often cared for at zoos.
Many wild animals experience more
due to human activity.
Zoos help save endangered species from complete extinction, and even allows rebooting the population that has gone extinct in wild.
If zoos are
accredited, they have taken many steps to insure the wellbeing of the animals within their zoo, and are sometimes better environments for the animals than the wild.
Better regulations are important, but a zoo with programmes and space relevant to each species etc. can help generate income to finance conservation and breeding.
if animals are even capable of experiencing emotional pain, which is often the only sort of pain zoos would cause animals.
If zoos did not exist, the animals within them would never come into existence. They would therefore be worse off than if they were brought into existence but experienced some suffering.
We are unable to understand how, or even if, animals feel
in a way that is remotely similar to how humans do. We should therefore prioritise quantifiable human utility.
Both accredited and unaccredited animal exhibitors are regulated by the federal
Animal Welfare Act,
which establishes standards for care.
The suffering of a few animals can be justified if it saves many more animals from suffering. Zoos can be ethical by doing work which benefits animals.