Animals in Captivity – Should or Should Not Be Kept

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Animals can be kept in captivity for many reasons for the benefit of themselves or us humans. Here are some points as to why it’s good to keep animals in captivity.

* Captive breeding programs

Captive breeding preserves endangered species from extinction. Breeding in captivity removes the treats that would normally prevent breeding in the wild or the survival of the young. It may be the only chance for that species to survive.

Captive breeding plays a significant role in conserving species.

Reintroduction is the ultimate goal of every captive-breeding program. Once the level of species in captivity has reached a sustainable high some can be introduced into the wild.

* Educational purposes

Having animals in captivity for education and research gives people a greater understanding of how they develop, breed, live and would act in the wild.

Mission statement from Paignton Zoo:

Our mission is to create an awareness and appreciation of the natural world and to motivate and enable people of all ages to respect and care for our environment.

* Scientific research

Animals are sometimes kept in captivity for science purposes. They are used to test products, such as medication, on that might otherwise harm humans.

* Sanctuaries

Sanctuaries are set up for wild animals that have been rescued or injured and are unable to return to the wild. By doing this gives the animal chance to survive to a natural age in an almost a natural environment, with species of their own kind.

Should Not

Behaviour in captivity is far from what would be exhibited in their natural environment.

Animal’s life span may be increasingly short eg,

* One of nine captive whales survive and the remainder live less than 1/6th of their usual 50-80years.

* In 1991 25 lions were born in zoos world-wide – 22 of them died

* In the same year 112 cheetahs died of 166 born in zoos.

Animals are still taken from the wild, young elephants have been taken from their mothers for zoos in the UK.

Most zoos collections are comprised of large species such as giraffes, elephants, tiger ect. These animals are ‘crowd pullers’ and are kept in captivity for the benefit of the zoos themselves.

There is a lack of genetic diversity in captive-bred animals. In the UK this reduced gene pool has led to snow leopards cubs, being bred with congenital deformities.

Keeping animals away from natural predators and the challenges of wild life may unbalance the longevity of some species.


I feel that keeping exotic animals in captivity with no real reason other than public display such as circuses is unethical and wrong but on the other hand for conservation purposes and for those animals unable to return to the wild captive life is the only option. If the animal is cared for and kept in suitable surroundings like their wild environment than I personally do not have a problem with keeping animals captivity for their own personal wellbeing.

Legislation Regarding the Keeping of Exotic Animals M4

There are many legislative procedures that affect the keeping of exotics these are:

* Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976

A local authority licence is needed in order to keep a dangerous animal. Animals must be kept in accommodation from which it cannot escape, and the premises must be inspected annually by a veterinary surgeon or other authorised persons.

This may not always be affective, as people may be unaware of the fact that they have to obtain a licence and how the animal they are keeping should be kept.

* Performing Animals Act 1925

This act applies to animals kept for displays and shows. The act states that:

“A person whom exhibits or trains any performing animal, for which the public have access, either payment or not, must be registered with a local authority”.

This act prevents people from making animals performing tricks that may seem cruel or unethical but not everyone may obtain a licence as they may feel they don’t need to.

* Zoo Licensing Act 1981

Any collections of animals not normally domesticated in Great Britain to which the public have access on more than seven days in any consecutive twelve month period.

The aim of the act is to ensure that where animals are kept in caged surroundings they are provided with adequate space and are properly provided for.

Applications for licensing go through the Environmental Health Department of local authorities.

This Act I feel is affective, if the premises is not how it should be when inspected then the zoo may be forced to close down.

* Transit of Animals Order 1973

Receptacle in which animals are transported must:

* Be suitable for the species being transported

* Include means of inspection of the animals

* Allow the animal to stand, sit, turn around and lie down

* Provide suitable ventilation

* Provide suitable bedding

This order means that animals must be transported humanly and with no damage to the animal. Although this order is in place not all people transport animals correctly.

* The Pet Animals Act 1951

Anyone in Britain selling animals, as pets require a licence obtained from local authorities.

A licence can only be issued if:

* The accommodation is of suitable size and has light, ventilation and heat

* The animals are provided with the correct amount and type of food

* The animals are provided with water at all times

* The animals are monitored constantly

* There are precautions against disease

* There are precautions against fire and other emergencies

This act being in force means that animals cannot be sold unless of good health and in a suitable environment. This prevents animals being sold off the streets.

* CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

This protects animals by regulating and monitoring their national trade to prevent it reaching unsuitable levels.

This I feel is good as it prevents the illegal trade in wild animals.

Human Health Considerations

* Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

This act protects the employees within the animal industry if any accidents should occur. This includes Risk Assessments.

* Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1964

This makes insurance of employee’s compulsory if any accidents should arise.

* Public Liability

This is so the business is insured if anything should happen to visitors while on the premises. The amount insured for depends on the amount of visitors and the number and severity of hazards that may occur.

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