Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

The Shocking "Tails" of Captive Animals Prep Post

Please read prior to our presentation. Articles will be discussed as a class.


“Rigorous training methods involving electric shocks, beatings, and food deprivation are used to force animals to perform acts that are unnatural and meaningless to them. Some trainers starve animals or surgically remove their teeth and claws….Animals used in traveling acts are almost constantly confined to tiny transport cages or trailers. They suffer in extreme temperatures and are not provided with adequate food and water...Without exercise, animals become listless and prone to illness, and as a reaction to stress and boredom, many resort to self-mutilation...“An industry based upon the use and abuse of wild animals has no place in either the education or entertainment of young children. We need to be teaching empathy, compassion, and sensitivity to the interconnectedness of all life, not abusive domination of others.” “(


“Zoos teach people that it is acceptable to interfere with animals and keep them locked up in captivity, where they are bored, cramped, lonely, deprived of all control over their lives, and far from their natural homes...Zoos claim to provide educational opportunities, but most visitors spend only a few minutes at each display, seeking entertainment rather than enlightenment...Animals’ normal behavior is seldom discussed, much less observed, because their natural needs are rarely met...Zoos claim to want to protect species from extinction, which sounds like a noble goal, but zoo officials usually favor exotic or popular animals—who draw crowds and publicity—rather than threatened or endangered local wildlife.” (


“The inappropriate use of wild animals in film and advertising can cause public misconceptions about the species...That familiar statement that scrolls up the screen at the end of a film is no guarantee that animals were not exploited, hurt, or even killed during production...The AHA bases its ratings only on the short period of time when animals are on the set—it supervises animals only during filming, not when they are being trained for films.” (


SeaWorld “In captivity, all male orcas have collapsed dorsal fins as adults, which is a sign of an unhealthy orca. SeaWorld claims that this condition is common and natural for all orcas. However, collapsed dorsal fins are caused by the unnatural environment of captivity and are rarely seen in the wild. Only 1 to 5 percent of male orcas in some populations (and none in others) have fully collapsed dorsal fins.” (


Economic Impacts of Animal fights: “Criminals also use dogfighting to yield large profits through illegal gambling. Participants and spectators wager excessive sums on the fights. "It's so much money. You would not believe the money floating around left and right." Purses for a single fight range anywhere from several hundred dollars to tens of thousand of dollars, and up. (A recent raid in Georgia in 2004, which resulted in 123 arrests, was an event with a $50,000 pot.) Bets also include cars, property titles, weapons, drugs, jewelry, and other valuables. For many, dogfighting is a lucrative money making enterprise, but the price that the victims of the bloody sport must pay is simply too high to be ignored.” (