Animal captivity is a pressing issue that we subconsciously support everyday by accepting animals as a source of entertainment rather than education. As the New York Times stated in an article, the US Fish and Wildlife Service permitted the capture and handover of 18 African elephants in 2016, a species that has been reported as endangered, from their natural habitats in Swaziland to zoos in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.
In addition, the zoos do not put much investment into the animal care that they should. According to The Wall Street Journal, nearly half the country’s zoos faced cutbacks in 2003. It requires more money, and therefore less profit, to provide more human living spaces for the animals. Because they live in poor conditions, the animals can easily become depressed or more dangerous to be around.
Although there are many animal sanctuaries created to help animals, which are places that rescue and help animals without breeding, National Geographic stated that there is a great disagreement as to how a sanctuary treats their animals. They go on to say that activists believe that the real problem with many sanctuaries is that they undermine their own mission they were “meant to serve.”
Many animals held in captivity are neglected after they are no longer cute, innocent babies. The abuse, neglect, and threats that these animals that are captured must go through every day until they die or are killed is completely unacceptable. We undoubtedly participate in this by giving into the entertainment animals bring, unknowingly giving profit to the places that have captured free animals and treat them inhumanely.
All that we, the consumers, must do is encourage the zoos near us to stop breeding, taking wild animals away from their homes, and leaving them no room to physically be comfortable with the unhealthy conditions. If it becomes apparent that a zoo is not providing good conditions, they can be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).