The Ethics of Zoos Persuasive Essay by Nicky

The Ethics of Zoos
A discussion on the ethics of caging animals in a zoo environment.
# 148327 | 1,494 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Oct 11, 2011 in Biology (Zoology) , Ethics (General)

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The paper argues that the ethics of zoos are questionable, since zoos demonstrate the ability of human beings to control, manipulate and subvert nature. The paper considers the impact of removing a predator from its natural environment and of the dignity of the animals that are kept in cages. In spite of their drawbacks, however, the paper discusses how zoos are places of research where conservation efforts can be carried out seamlessly and in tandem with the ethics of the society, and even as entertainment, they serve a purpose in bringing to people animal encounters they would never have otherwise. The paper reaches the conclusion that zoo environments sacrifice the integrity of animal behavior and the natural relationship between animals and their environment for the goal of human progress.

From the Paper:

"Lions, polar bears, and other carnivores at the top of the food chain cannot often be appreciated in a first-hand encounter. However, these are the very animals that seem thwarted in the confining environment of a zoo. No visitor to a zoo would question the ethics of keeping a cat or a dog at home, because those creatures have been bred and domesticated specifically for the purpose of being pets. Lions, tigers, bears, and gorillas have not been bred as such and are woefully deprived of space, the ability to hunt, and in most cases the climate, flora, and fauna to which they are naturally adapted. The issue of the dignity of the animals is a separate issue but a compelling one too. Wild animals do appear undignified when kept in cages and not allowed to do the things that their instincts tell them to such as hunt."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baratay, Eric and Hardouin-Fugier, Elisabeth. Zoo. Reaktion Books, 2004.
  • Kisling, Vernon N. Zoo and Aquarium History. CRC Press, 2000.
  • Robinson, Phillip T. Life at the Zoo. Columbia University Press, 2004.
  • Smith, Athena. "Zoo Ethics." The Collegian. 2000. Retrieved April 25, 2009 from

Cite this Persuasive Essay:

APA Format

The Ethics of Zoos (2011, October 11) Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Ethics of Zoos" 11 October 2011. Web. 29 March. 2023. <>