This House believes wild animals should not be kept in captivity

Zoos are premises for the captivity of animals, often in urban areas where many of the animals would not otherwise be found, with the intention of studying the animals and displaying them to the public at large. The predecessor of the zoo was the menagerie, which involved the captivity of birds typically for the entertainment of the aristocracy, and has a long history running back to ancient times. The first modern zoo evolved out of an aristocratic menagerie in Vienna in 1765. Many types of zoo now exist, from the petting zoos that encourage the public to get up and close with the animals to the large nature reserves that provide space for the animals to roam around within and most famously the large, urban zoos like the London Zoo which include elephants, lions and penguins and are usually notable tourist drawcards for the cities concerned. Proponents argue that zoos are beneficial both to the animals themselves, protecting endangered species with specific breeding programs, and the public, as an educational tool to increase both awareness and understanding. Opponents respond that the removal of wild animals from their habitat is wrong, that they should be left in their natural surroundings and not used as tools for public entertainment.

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