Dear Editor:

According to Debate.org, 59 percent of respondents are against zoos. It seems that people consider zoos to be inhumane for animals; however, I believe that this belief is misguided.

Common misconceptions of animals in zoos are that they are unhappy and being held against their will, or that they are being treated poorly. Although not every zoo in the world lives up to the highest standards of care, there are some public zoos, such as the Minnesota Zoo, which do take great care of their animals. In fact, most of today’s modern zoos enable the animals to full habitats with more than enough space for them to roam freely and be happy.

As Satch Krantz, director of Riverbank Zoo and Garden stated, “You’ve got to make sure you have animals that are not just physically healthy, but mentally healthy, moving around during the day and doing things in a natural way.”

The Foundation for Biomedical Research reports that by having some animals in captivity, we can study and research different characteristics and find new ways in which we can help these animals survive in the wild more efficiently.

Dr. Robin Ganzert, CEO of the American Humane Association stated, “Today’s zoos and aquariums are uniquely positioned to combat those evolving threats.” These animals are facing natural, predatorial, climate threats, and many more. While being in the care of the zoos, they can be observed and ways to prevent these threats help them overall in the long run.

Zoos are not just there for the pleasure of the public, they help with the breeding of endangered species. A good example of this ecological benefit is the Bronx Zoo in New York, which led one of the earliest captive breeding and reintroduction efforts of the American Bison. Furthermore, zoos also help educate the people who visit them. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums credited zoos with educating over millions of visitors about the animals, their habitats, and related conservation issues.

As zookeeping has evolved, animals are increasingly kept in more than adequate conditions and are treated with great respect, not just at the Minnesota Zoo, but many other zoos as well.

As Dr. Dave Hone stated, “It is perfectly possible to keep animals in a zoo or wildlife park and for them to have a quality of life as high or higher than in the wild.” Overall the benefits that zoos provide to animals do more good than harm and are continuing to do so today.

Jared Zacharias

Cambridge

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