Zoos are segregated facilities for public display of animals. However, modern zoos are essential and include more than just a collection of animals. The zoos are designed as a recreational centre for both young and adult.
On the other hand, the circus is engaging in trained daring and skilled human exhibitions as a form of entertainment. The circus is usually enc
losed in an arena, surrounded by tiers of spectator seats or tents. Traditional beliefs and folklore contribute much to controlling circuses. The animals involved may either be trained or not. For instance, bull fighting is common among communities which rear livestock as their livelihood.
On the other hand, animals are trained for entertainment to the extent that it is enticing to see an elephant standing on its two hind legs. However, people fail to see the torture interms of stress, abuse and confinement that theses animals undergo under human to perform these tricks. They are led by the stereotype that animals enjoy being trained to perform the tricks (Armstrong, Susan and Botzler 21).
Keeping animals in zoos and taming them for circuses is more or less the same. This is because it involves restricting animals to a specific location for various purposes such as financial or educational. The two animal practices have been used and passed along with many generations. This paper discusses the pros and cons of banning zoos and circuses with two opposing philosophers. It also explains the solutions to banning animal circus and zoos.
Why Animals Zoos and circuses Should be Banned
Among the reasons why animal zoos and circuses should be banned is that they confine the animals being trained to a specific place. According to an American philosopher Peter Singer, animals are confined for 96 per cent of their lives either being trained for tricks or in zoos for commercial purposes. For instance, circus involves an animal spending 48 weeks inside cages while carried in various places around the globe. These cages can only sustain an animal standing or turning around. The fact that these animals cannot walk the many kilometres as they can in the jungle makes them develop stress. A good example is an elephant which can walk approximately 30 miles daily unlike the case when they are confined in cages.
Furthermore, animal families are separated at a very tender age. Just like their mothers, young animals are deprived of their mother’s care and instead, confined in cages or zoos. The confinements are like imprisonment which dispossess them of physical and mental stimulation. According to Peter Singer, this is unethical and unfair especially to social animals such as chimpanzees, elephants, tigers and lions.
Another reason why animal zoos and Circuses should be banned is animal abuse. Peter Singer argued that training of animals to specific conditioning is done through punishments. Hardly do circus lovers understand the hardships behind the successful execution of tricks by the animals. However, it involves abusive and ruthless training of animals to achieve such admirable trickery entertainment. Many are the times when this conditioning cruelty leads to harming of animal body parts. Body harm might be so severe to the extent of causing broken bones in some animals or sustaining bruises in others. The famous Ringling brothers’ circus are culprits of fining due to animals mistreatment. This was after a video of them leaked on social media using metal hooks to whip elephants. An American professor on philosophy by the name Suzanne Cataldi learned the secret behind bears dancing in Moscow Circus performance. She learned the barbaric training involved “placing hot trays of coal beneath their feet while the music was being played so that they may learn to associate pain with the beat of the music”. Also, in the case of poor performances, animals are punished by starvation. They are forced to walk for long distances without feeding more so after their poor performances to make them submissive. However, starvation occurs in animals as they walk the many distances regardless of their poor performances or not. These cruel punishments are made to enhance the easy control of animals as they instil fear to them.
In the zoos, animals are as well conditioned into some behaviors in the cages. Therefore, they are given food at specific times to make them adapt to feeding at such times. The animals at the zoo do not feed to their satisfaction but regulated. Another cause of stress in zoos is the many intruders in terms of visitors coming to see the animals. The large magnitudes of people visiting everyday instil fear among the animals.
Banning of animal circuses and zoos is vital as animals need to live in their natural habitat with dignity. Due to the mistreatment accorded to the animals compounded with the starvation that the animals are exposed to, it leads to short lifespan or lifetime. Furthermore, another contribution to the animal’s short lifetime is disease and sicknesses. The lack of exercise due to the animal confinement culminates to disease and illnesses. Other animals become disabled for life by the severe beating given to them during training of tricks. Due to the ecological change, animals such as elephants, tigers and lions which are accustomed to walking exercises in the wild may develop joint complications. Zoos also contribute to shortening the average life of the animals. Zoos as well as deprive confined animals of their freedom of movement thus cannot undergo their usual exercises as they did in the wild. This leads to diseases and sicknesses in the animals (Wolff and Jonathan 430). However, the good news is that animal circuses are on the decline around the globe. The decline has been brought about by efforts from various governments. The Department of Agriculture also needs to step up their game by investigating how animals in the circus are handled.
Disadvantages of Banning Zoos and Circuses
Usually, zoos and circuses are used as a source of finances. Not all people are privileged to be close to a broad view of animals especially wild animals. Therefore, they sacrifice everything to have a glimpse of the animals. They pay to visit the zoos where these animals are confined thus generating capital. On the other side, a circus is a form of entertainment which helps make capital to the concerned individuals. There are entertainment competitions where various individuals use their trained animals to showcase their tricks. The winners earn themselves some good money.
Another disadvantage for the banning of zoos and circuses is that it leads to the unemployment rate. The animal parks and orphanage usually have many workers taking care of the confined animals while others are guiding visitors among other jobs. Therefore, its demise will cause retrenching of the workers thus promoting the unemployment rate. Circus individuals employ other workers to take care of the animals. There is a lot of employment in organizing events to showcase the tricks of these animals. Therefore, banning zoos and circuses would render these employees jobless.
Another disadvantage of banning zoos and animal circuses is that it shall affect people’s form of entertainment. The primary purpose of creating zoos and animal circuses is to create a conducive atmosphere for individual’s entertainment and spending their leisure. Therefore, banning zoos and circuses shall affect people’s form of entertainments. A beer is stripped off its fur so that it can be sold or to be clothed to perform the circus dances. Roger Scruton defends this by saying that an animal has got their rights and wrongs. For instance, he says that hunting is not against the rights of animals.
Another disadvantage of banning zoos and animal circuses is that it shall affect research and education. Zoos are the only places where a researcher can vividly study animals without interference or rush. Many kids are taken to these zoos not only to have fun but also to learn about these animals (Schaefer, Owen and Julian Savulescu 191).
Banning of animal circuses and zoos shall affect the culture of various societies. Some communities perform animal circuses such as bullfighting as a sign of appreciating their culture. Interfering with culture through the banning of animal circuses shall trigger collisions with such cultural affiliated individuals.
Solutions to Banning of Zoos and Animal Circuses
It is evident that animals involved in entertaining and performing experiences a lot of traumatising experiences. However, there is a wide range of solutions to this effect including banning animals from the circus, larger enclosures and sanctuaries. These solutions shall help counter the ethical captivity of animals in zoos and circus. Many theme parks and zoos have implemented different programmes and larger enclosures. This involves increasing the enlargement space for animal confinement. Enlargement of enclosure gives animals more free space to exercise some of their ethical rights such as movements. A good example is expanding of orca by their new hired CEO known as Joel Manby.
American zoos have decided to take some of their star animals which are used as a form of entertainment to sanctuaries. For instance, they agreed that it is against ethics to keep elephants under captivity in the name of entertainment and instead sent them to sanctuaries. Besides, many sanctuaries have been created while animals that were used in circus entertainment taken to sanctuaries after the retirement of their circus groups. A perfect example is the Ringling Brothers who took their elephant to a sanctuary in Florida. This is because we need to hear the animals that we watch jump, dress up and observe behind bars.
Animals performing circus should be banned. The ceremonies should be performed with animal substitutes such as human beings or other artefacts. Banning of using animals would lead to returning animals to their natural habitat and restore their life.
Learning experiences among young children and researchers should be done through 3D video displays. Instead of visiting the zoos, learning may be undertaken using a recorded clip about the animals in context and displayed to them. Also, cultural entertainment using animal circus should as well adopt the same technology. They can record be displaying video clips of previous events and trickery performances by these animals and displaying them in current and future such ceremonies. By so doing, animal ethics shall be restored and returned to their natural habitat. Besides, animal beating and movement restrictions shall be seized.
It is widely evident that we mistreat and abuse animals in the name of entertaining ourselves. We have discussed measures of curbing this menace of animal mistreatment. Since animals have no voice to stand for themselves against abuse, we should be their voice and anticipate for their freedom. Ethics should be considered when addressing animals. As Peter Singer said, that the animals have rights just like we human beings and if anyone disrespects that by claiming that they are from other species, then they are no less than sexists or racists. Finally, let us embrace animals like pizza to have a future with healthy animals.
Armstrong, Susan J., and Richard G. Botzler, eds. The animal ethics reader. Taylor & Francis, 2016.
Schaefer, G. Owen, and Julian Savulescu. “The ethics of producing in vitro meat.” Journal of Applied Philosophy 31.2 (2014): 188-202.
Wolff, Jonathan. Readings in Moral Philosophy. WW Norton & Company, 2017.