Instigator / Pro

In the US, Zoos Should be Abolished


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 7 votes and with 18 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
Two days
Max argument characters
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con

I'll be generous and play devil's advocate

zoo: an establishment which maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or gardens, for study, conservation, or display to the public.

abolished: formally put an end to (a system, practice, or institution).

Round 1
1. Poor treatment
In zoos, animals are confined and intended as entertainment for humans. This is clearly already morally ambiguous, and some zoos are being downright immoral. Hundreds have been accused of bad treatment for animals ( It also encourages hunting down these animals to put inside the zoo in the first place. As one article notes, "They are stripped of their ability to display natural behaviors and lead a stilted existence filled with stress and boredom" ( The change of environment is so big that predators are basically stuck their whole life as they lose their ability to hunt and survive in the wilderness ( My opponent must show that zoos not only do not poorly treat animals, the benefits have to outweigh the negatives.

2 Doesn't save endangered
One seemingly excellent argument is that zoos save endangered species. But is this really the case? "Most animals confined in zoos are not endangered, nor are they being prepared for release into natural habitats" (,for%20release%20into%20natural%20habitats.&text=A%202015%20study%20published%20in,won%27t%20make%20a%20difference.) Another study precisely demonstrates that these endangered animals should actually be protected in the wild to help them reproduce, rather be stuck in captivity ( As you can see, the arguably strongest argument for zoos is shot down. Non profit sanctuaries are far superior in this aspect.

3. Doesn't educate
Some people argue that zoos are good for teaching kids about animals, but documentaries compress information far better and show animals in their natural habitat. As Freedom for Animals leader puts it in his words, "Zoos present an entirely false view of both the animals themselves, and of the real and very urgent issues facing many species in their natural homes." In statistics, over half the children hardly learned any information (  If con believes this site is insufficient, the *government* itself supported a site that admitted people already worried zoos' teaching was counter-productive (

4. Dangerous
"According to CNN, animal advocacy group Born Free reports that there have been 256 injuries in zoos due to animal attacks over the past 26 years, resulting in 33 deaths" (,years%2C%20resulting%20in%2033%20deaths.&text=Given%20the%20number%20of%20people,don%27t%20happen%20very%20often.) These zoo enclosures are not safe, and this is a very clear; it's near impossible to prevent people from entering these enclosures. As such, zoos ought to be prohibited, to prevent dumb people from getting hurt.
In the United States, Zoos should be Abolished


My opponent may state facts about zoos that are crushing to hear. Zoos do in fact abuse animals regularly, and the AWA doesn’t protect that much of animals. Though my opponent, through brilliant misinforming is exaggerating the actual harm (which I will get through in the rebuttal), this is a problem that should be solved. But the resolution doesn’t actually match the problem. Why should we waste time and resources moving animals, and building new facilities? Why should we use our resources in the middle of a pandemic, to worsen the economy, and get rid of a source of entertainment in these troubling times? 
That is why I suggest a different resolution. I suggest we help zoos instead of abolish them. Abolishing will cost money, and precious time, while helping will be much cheaper, and less detrimental to the animals. We will fix these aching problems of the zoos, including:
  • Education.
  • Abuse
  • Danger

As a last statement of this prelude, I present the judges with an example. If you were to get a cut on your arm, would you stitch it, or would you amputate it? The answer is clear. Stitching is less detrimental to the body than amputating it. Stitching is a better solution to the problem, amputating is only making it worse.


My opponent may say that disproving all of his arguments are the only way to fulfill my burden of proof, but that is wrong. I am agreeing that zoos are currently not in their best state. But the resolution isn’t that, the resolution is not “In the US, Zoos are Detrimental”, the resolution is “In the Us, Zoos Should Be Abolished”. My entire argument is not that zoos aren’t detrimental, it is that abolishment is not necessary.
My opponent doesn’t actually state a plan of abolishment. Where should we move the thousands of workers? Where should we put the animals? How would we relocate the animals? What do we do with the facilities after they have been used? What do we do with the equipment? All of these factors need to be assessed before even thinking of abolishing zoos. My plan to help zoos is simple. Use a portion of the already huge zoo grant from the government to try to improve these factors, and spread it around the zoos, instead of the 8% from the AZA. There will be no need to relocate the animals, no need to give the workers jobs, and no need to fill the gap in the economy.

Round 2
my opponent mentions "in the middle of the pandemic", but this worsens his case more than helps. Zoos encourage people to go and visit in close quarters. Look at how Florida Beaches and New York's city center packed with people all were very high risk, and the former was even stopped as a result. "In the context of coronavirus" only helps my case as we should keep people from meaninglessly visiting zoos, it is not an essential job except to take care of the animals. Turn the zoo into a temporary sanctuary instead so as to protect them. 

My case still stands very strong and con's case destroys itself. "Abolishing" zoos does not mean you waste the workers and just release all the animals. You could create a better habitat observed by the employees and guarded to help them survive. It can be a gradual improvement at first and make it so that the primary purpose is not entertainment.
My opponent suggests abolishing zoos is to release them into the wild, where they will be built a habitat. This is just creating another zoo in a different place other than the US, it is building a zoo with more steps. The only single thing you changed was that zoos will be built on foreign territory with a purpose of saving not entertaining. While this sounds good, shouldn't we focus on more realistic solutions? 

How would you turn a zoo into a "temporary sanctuary"? What even is the difference between a zoo and a sanctuary, if you are using the exact same facility?

Will it solve any of the problems at hand? Will those "habitats" help in conservation? Will there be enough resources to build property in every single natural habitat an animal resides in? 

How will these "habitats" gain funding? From the government, which shut down zoos to make other ones? The thing is that we can do the exact same thing by just helping zoos, we can fix the wound by just stitching it.

Round 3
Bravo. You have stated my worries exactly and precisely. This is the one standing I couldn't come up with a good solution too. Maybe one day, I will win a devil's advocate debate. Until then, vote con.
Thanks. You put up a good fight. The reason I won this time was because of how I already thought about and researched this topic earlier. 

PRO has conceded, VOTE CON