Imagine a powerful tiger drooling through the savanna lands trying to sneak up and attack it’s unsuspecting pray. Tigers are known to be ruthless kings of the wild, but have you ever asked yourself if tigers are better off in captivity or if they are better off in the wild? In other words keeping tigers in zoos is a form of animal cruelty. Animal cruelty can be defined as physical abuse, mental abuse and the quality or condition of being cruel. Over the years many controversial issues have emerged, “In the wild, tigers live for approximately 14 to 18 years, while in captivity they can live over 19 years”(Satchell).
Yes it might be true but tigers in zoos are affected by extreme boredom, lack of appropriate exercise and poor quality of food. In zoos, not only are tigers fed processes meat, “often still frozen” that is loaded with many preservatives. This is done according to zoos, because its both easy to store and easy to feed. This procedure not only does it hurt the tigers digestive system but also lacks nutrition and its effectiveness. In zoos tigers are treated like prisoners locked up in cages that only measure in square feet.
For example, tigers in the wild typically spend ten hours of the day hunting and “… monitoring their territory”(San Diego Zoo). However they are unable to perform these activities in zoos and are forced to replace there typical physical activity by pacing through their cages in order to release their energy. As Mckenna from BBC news would say, “Zoos send the message that it’s acceptable to maintain wild animals in captivity, and this contributes to animal cruelty at roadside zoos and circuses…”(Satchell)
Those who support animal rights believe and understand that the harm caused by zoos outweighs the benefits that the facilities may provide. For example, tigers in zoos are anesthetized annually, their teeth are checked, blood is drawn from them and x-rays are taken. “This procedure may sound like a good practice…”(PETA), but anesthesia is really bad on “exotic cats”. In zoos “ the big attraction is baby tigers so tigers are bred to death…”(PETA) but if the tiger is not allowed to breed then they put them on birth controls that cause cancer over the years.
According to PETA zoo babies are great but what happens when babies grow up? According to PETA, zoos often sell or put tigers to sleep who no longer attract visitors, and those who are sold become laboratories for experiments. Ultimately animals and visitors are the ones who pay the price when we have zoos. One perfect example, is Tatiana the Siberian tiger who escaped her substandard enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo in 2007 and was shot to death after she killed one person and injured two others.
A PETA investigation of numerous zoos across the country also revealed that tigers in zoos “Spend much of their time pacing walking in tight circle swaying or rolling their heads and showing other sighs of psychological distress”(PETA) Yes tigers and animals suffer more than neglect and stress in zoos. Yes protecting species from extinction sounds good but zoos officials usually favor exotic or popular animals like tigers and lions who draw more crowds and neglect less popular species.
In other word zoos claim to educate people and preserve species but they frequently falls short. In reality there is no evidence that zoos are the most effective place for animals such as tiger to be in and yes all zoos can be compared to all. So next time you see a tiger locked up in a zoo think of animal cruelty because you would not like to be locked up in a prison. In other words zoos teach people that it is acceptable to keep animals in captivity, bored, cramped, lonely and far from their natural homes.