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Are Zoos Necessary?
0What’s This About?

The necessity of zoos has long been a source of debate. While zoo advocates claim zoos play a vital role in modern society, many animal welfare organizations and environmental activists argue zoos are outdated and unethical institutions that do more harm than good. So, who is correct? The two panelists will now present their arguments on the issue.


Constructive

Pro Finn

I believe zoos hold more importance than ever, especially as we face a global biodiversity crisis. The primary reason is that these institutions are essential for protecting and recovering endangered species. Zoos help save endangered species by providing a secure environment, shielding them from threats such as poachers, habitat loss, starvation, and predators. They also often rehabilitate injured animals and run breeding programs for species with poor reproductive success, sustaining their populations and reintroducing animals to the wild. An example is the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Its numerous programs have ensured the genetic diversity and long-term survival of rare animals such as the Amur leopard and the Sumatran tiger. In these ways, zoo captivity offers protections and aid that some species cannot survive without.


Con Alice

Zoos have no place in modern society, as it is clear that wild animals do not cope well with life in captivity. Many species have large home ranges and complex social structures that zoos cannot provide for. For example, zoos typically confine polar bears to just one millionth of their natural home ranges, which can reach 350,000 ㎢ in the wild. Zoos are also crowded, with many animals packed into enclosures to satisfy visitors who want to see animals up close. This unnatural environment can lead to abnormal behaviors, such as pacing, self-mutilation, and lethargy. Furthermore, while many animals are social, zoos frequently transfer or relocate animals throughout their lifetimes, making it difficult for them to form lasting connections. This lack of social bonding can disrupt their emotional well-being.


Rebuttal

Pro Finn

You raise valid concerns about animal welfare, but modern zoos are increasingly aware of these issues and are making significant strides in improving animals’ living conditions. Accredited zoos follow stringent guidelines to ensure their inhabitants’ physical and psychological well-being. Furthermore, zoos are indispensable in our fight to preserve biodiversity, educating the public about wildlife and environmental conservation and offering critical research opportunities. Zoos can foster a sense of connection and responsibility towards animals and their habitats, motivating visitors to adopt eco-friendly behaviors. They also allow scientists to study animals up close. Research conducted in zoos has led to significant advancements in veterinary medicine and wildlife management. For example, studies on animal diets, reproductive biology, and disease prevention in zoos have applications that benefit both captive and wild populations.


Con Alice

While it’s true that some zoos have improved standards, many still fall short, prioritizing profit over welfare. Despite the many laws protecting animals, reports indicate that harmful training techniques, poor living conditions, and neglect still occur in zoos worldwide. Also, “surplus” animals, no longer needed for exhibits, may be sold, euthanized, or mistreated. Moreover, we cannot ignore the ethical implications of keeping animals in captivity for human benefit. Wild animals belong in their natural habitats, not enclosures for human entertainment. Ethical concerns aside, there are effective alternatives to zoos. Wildlife sanctuaries offer more natural living conditions and focus on rehabilitation and release. Documentary films and virtual reality experiences can educate and promote conservation to a larger audience without compromising animal welfare. We must prioritize ethical, low-risk methods of protecting wildlife.


Judge’s Comments

That concludes today’s debate. Both sides present compelling arguments, but a resolution would require careful consideration of modern alternatives and the evolving understanding of wildlife conservation, animal rights, and animal welfare.

Yesel Kang
Copy Editor
teen/1718582099/1613367727
 
인쇄기능입니다.
1. What are the main arguments made by the first speech of the pro side?
2. What are the main arguments made by the first speech of the con side?
3. What are the main arguments made by the second speech of the pro side?
4. What are the main arguments made by the second speech of the con side?
 
1. Do you agree with the arguments of the pro side? Explain why or why not.
2. Do you agree with the arguments of the con side? Explain why or why not.
3. Which side has more convincing arguments? Explain your reasoning.
4. Which animals can you see at the zoo? What is your impression of them?
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