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The Reality of Zoos

Confused Animal Lover from St. Louis writes, "I'm a


huge animal lover, and I understand why the circus is bad
for animals, but what about zoos?"
Great question! Many people aren't aware of the cruelty
behind zoos, so it's good that you're thinking about
animals used for entertainment. When I was a kid, I went
to the zoo all the time with my family. I loved pandas as a
kid (still do!), and I thought being able to see them in person would be neat. But once I saw
them "up close and personal," I realized that the animals were miserable. It instantly became
very clear to me that the animals imprisoned in zoos are sad and don't want to be kept in
artificial environments, have people gawk at them, listen to children who bang on the windows
of their enclosures, or have cameras flashing in their faces. To put it simply, zoos are
imprisoning animals who want to be free.
Captive animals are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, and as a
result, they become bored and lonely and many even suffer from a condition called
"zoochosis." If you've ever witnessed a captive animal rock and sway back and forth, you've
seen the disease firsthand. This condition is so rampant in zoos that some zoos give animals a
mood-altering drug, such as Prozac, because the public has started to catch on.
Some animals are so unhappy that they risk their lives in desperate attempts to free themselves.
At the Dallas Zoo, a gorilla named Jabari tried to escape by jumping over the walls and moats
of his enclosure, only to be fatally shot by police. A witness later confessed that teenagers were
taunting him by throwing rocks.
Animals are unable to thrive in small enclosures, especially with unnatural weather and
climates. For example, elephants typically walk up to 30 miles in just one day, but Lucy, the
lone elephant at the Edmonton Zoo, is locked inside a barn when the zoo is closed and during
Edmonton's frigid winter months, which means she spends most of her time indoors, without
much room to move. The near-constant confinement because of the harsh weather has caused
Lucy to develop painful arthritis.
In reality, most people only spend a few seconds at each display, waiting for the animals to do
something "exciting," but they gain little, if any, true understanding of the animals. In addition,
captive animals don't get to choose their mates, and they are sometimes artificially inseminated
so that their babies can be sold or traded to other zoos. This often results in miscarriages, death
at birth, or the mother's rejection of her young. The Chinese government "rents" pandas
to zoos worldwide for fees of more than $1 million per year!
Traveling and roadside zoos are even crueler. Animals are often kept in barren cages, such as
concrete pens, and in stressful environments, with nothing more than an old tire or a log to
stimulate their minds and enrich their lives. People have also been sickenedand some have
diedafter contracting diseases from animals in petting zoos.
Instead of going to the zoo, you can learn about animals by watching nature documentaries or
observing the animals in their own natural habitats instead. Now that I know the reality behind
zoos, I don't go to the zoo, and I encourage my friends and family to boycott them as well. I
love animals, and I want to see them free, not held captive behind bars!
by Michelle Carr.
Before reading

1. Answer the following questions:
Do you like animals?
What is your favorite animal?
Think of one of one of your pets/or a pet you would like to have.


2. Now, read the title of the article and make predictions about the reading
What is it going to be about?
Have you ever been to a zoo? Describe your experience.
During reading
Do not stop to look up the words you dont know. Underline them and try to guess their meaning
according to the context.

After reading

1. Once you have read the article, answer the following questions:
What is the general idea of the article?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

Under what conditions do animals live at the zoo?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

Do you agree with the last statement of the author?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________


2. In the following sentences, write T if the sentence is true and F if it is
false according to the reading.
1. Wild animals live in better conditions in Circuses than in Zoos,
2. The author realized that animals lived miserably in Zoos when he was a kid
3. At the Dallas Zoo, a chimpanzee named Jabari tried to escape by jumping over the
walls and moats of his enclosure

4. Animals are able to grow healthily in captivity if their enclosures are in good
conditions

5. People have died after having contracted diseases from animals in traveling and
roadside zoos



3. Complete the following sentences with the best option

1. Zoo animals suffer from a condition called zoochosis that can be detected when
animals_______
a. move from one place to another and become bored and lonely
b. dont eat their vegetables
c. want to escape
d. become aggressive

2. This (zoochosis) condition is so rampant in zoos that some animals are given _________,
such as Prozac, because the public has started to catch on.
a. Vitamins
b. Fruits and vegetables
c. Energizers
d. Mood-altering drugs

3. ___________"rents" pandas to zoos worldwide for fees of more than $1 million per year!
a. A circus manager
b. Veterinarians
c. The Chinese government
d. Chinese people

4. Animals are unable to _______ in small enclosures, especially with unnatural weather and
climates.
a. grow healthily
b. think carefully
c. be happy
d. mate
4. Evaluation
Write a short essay about Animal rights, and how it should be implemented in your
country/state.

Reading source:
http://www.peta.org/living/animal-friendly-fun/the-reality-of-zoos.aspx
Adapted by: Diana Marysol Contreras Licea