The Pros and Cons of Zoos

Julian Omidi is an advocate for the safety and welfare of animals across the world. In today’s blog, Julian looks at both sides of a sensitive issue.

There’s been plenty of talk in the world media lately about whether it is time to do away with zoos, though some say zoos are good for animals and should be a part of every major city’s public service offerings. What do you think? Is it time for zoos to go? Or do they serve a worthwhile purpose?

Here are some of the arguments for and against zoos. Where do you stand on the issue?

Reasons to keep zoos:

  • Zoos educate people about animal welfare, get kids interested in wildlife, and contribute to pro-animal causes.
  • Endangered species are often preserved and saved when sheltered by city zoos.
  • High-quality zoos are accredited and must maintain the very best standards of cleanliness and humane practices.
  • Zoos are a great place for injured and exotic animals to recover, under the care of professional handlers and veterinarians.
  • When someone has an exotic pet that becomes hard to care for, a city zoo is the ideal place to take it.
  • Many an endangered species has been “saved” by zoos, which often have advanced breeding programs. In the wild, many of these rare species might not be able to find mates, and would probably become extinct.

Some arguments against zoos:

  • Unscrupulous, unlicensed zoos often mistreat animals and exist solely to make money.
  • Captive animals suffer by not being in their natural habitats.
  • Zoos set a bad example when children see adults imprisoning animals for entertainment purposes.
  • People can visit wildlife parks if they want to see animals in a natural habitat.
  • Wildlife parks allow animals to roam freely and live almost as they would in nature.
  • Breeding programs don’t work and are nothing more than expensive ways to experiment on defenseless creatures.

Wherever you stand on the issue, anyone who loves animals should care enough to get involved with their local zoos, either as animal advocates or supporters of the institution. Those on both sides of this sensitive issue have a reason to find out about their local zoo and learn whether it is treating its residents humanely.

Be good to each other (and to our animal friends!),

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi, along with his brother Michael and mother Cindy, are advocates and co-founders of Animal Support and a number of other charities and organizations that are dedicated to promoting the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.