"Zoo officials often argue that animals live longer in zoos than they would in the wild." (Animals for Entertainment) "In some cases, this is true, but it is irrelevant." (Animals for Entertainment) "Researchers compared the life spans of elephants in European zoos with those living in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and others working on a timber enterprise in Myanmar." (Schmid) "Animals in the wild or in natural working conditions had life spans twice that or more of their relatives in zoos." (Schmid) Some animals may live longer in captivity than they would in the wild, but length of life doesn't make up for the unethical conditions in which they are kept. "A tradeoff of quantity of life versus quality of life is not always decided in favor of quantity." (Animals for Entertainment)
. . an epidemic broke out, a sickness of pustules. It began in Tepeilhuitl. Large bumps spread on people; some were entirely covered. .[The victims] could no longer walk about, but lay in their dwellings and sleeping places, . . And when they made a motion, they called out loudly. The pustules that covered people caused great desolation; very many people died of them, and many just starved to death; starvation reigned, and no one took care of others any longer.
Excerpt and illustration from Sahagún, Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España , c. 1575-1580; ed., tr., James Lockhart, We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest Mexico (Univ. of California Press, 1993)
More astonishing than the difference between the length of the lists of Old World's and New World's domesticated animals is the difference between the lengths of the lists of infectious diseases native to the two. The New World had only a few, possibly because humans had been present there and had lived in dense populations, cities, for a short time compared to the Old. Possibly of greater importance is the relative lack of domesticated herd animals in America, one of our richest sources of disease micro-organisms. (For instance, we share influenza with pigs and other barnyard animals).