An Animal’s Prison: Zoos

By Kieran Tan

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“The world is your oyster”, is what you’re always told. You have freedom, control; you can choose. A person getting imprisoned unjustly is a violation of their human rights. Animals have rights too. Yet, we imprison them for our own amusement and under the pretence of “conservation”.

We have legs for a reason. Legs allow us to walk and run, just as lions’ do. However, what point is there in a lion having legs if it is confined in a cramped enclosure. The lion can’t run around, so it sits. It sits, eats, lies around and repeats. A lion is destined to roam the savannah. It should have miles and miles of land to run around, hunt and mate. When other animals see the dreaded lion approaching, it flees. In spite of that humans treat the lions like a common house cat, feeding it when we choose so. We chain them up as if they were a typical, pitiful prisoner.

As a result of animals being thrust into an artificial environment, they deteriorate mentally, just as they do physically. The animals start to descend into an uncontrollable spiral of depression. Sitting around and not able to do anything you enjoy doing, you feel agitated and worthless. Yet we ignore their painfully obvious signs of sorrow at being confined. We are hypocrites. Humans preach the importance of mental health and the hazardous risk it has on ourselves, then deject the animals who are in dire need of help.


We are also disgraceful, irresponsible beings. In recent years, loss of habitat due to human greed has left animals in critical need of new homes. Zoos aren’t acceptable solutions. A person who’s mansion has been seized and instead been forced to live in a wooden shed would be furious, and understandably so. If humans aren’t treated this way, animals shouldn’t be either. Humans are at fault for devastating the habitats of these animals, and we are obliged to take responsibility for it. It is not fair to make animals pay for our actions.

However, many organizations use the “conservation” tactic to try and fight the backlash against zoos. But it is all absolutely absurd. Conservation takes place at a wildlife sanctuary, not in a zoo. The difference between sanctuaries and zoos is that sanctuaries take in any “abused, neglected or abandoned” animals and care for them. Zoos, on the other hand, “buy, sell, trade, borrow, loan out and breed animals,” for their own profit.

In addition to exploiting and gaining profit off these animals, zoo owners unashamedly distort the concept of zoos. According to PETA, most of the animals found in zoos aren’t classified as endangered species. Even if they were, animals born in captivity cannot and were never intended to be returned to their natural habitat. They don’t have the survival skills necessary to survive such conditions, and are at high risk of spreading diseases foreign to other animals found in the wild. This could paradoxically harm wildlife populations to a perilous level. Moreover, in the name of “conservation”, a 2011 study on North American zoos found that only a meager 5% of their income was being invested into conservation efforts.

Let us not be such heartless, inconsiderate creatures. Try putting yourself in the animal’s shoes, and think about how you would feel. The despair, loneliness and depression. Purely existing with no will to live. A life that you must endure every single day. For the rest of your life. Imagine this.

Free animals, they have as much of a right to life as we do. Zoos are an evil in this world we do not need. We are capable of fighting them; let’s start now.


Works Cited:

  1. “Are Wildlife Sanctuaries Good for Animals?” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 20 Mar. 2014,
  2. “Ethics – Animal Ethics: Animals for Entertainment.” BBC, BBC,
  3. Samadi, Sana. “Zoos: Prison or Paradise?” Youth Are Awesome, 16 Oct. 2014,
  4. “Zoos May Actually Hurt Conservation Efforts, Not Help Them.” PETA, 30 Nov. 2016,