Marine Parks

A model argumentative essay

Marine Parks

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The issue of whether we should allow marine parks to stay open has been widely debated in our community recently. It is an important issue because it concerns fundamental moral and economic questions about the way we use our native wildlife. Despite whatever benefits marine parks may offer, they are unnecessary and cruel institutions which should be prohibited.

It has been argued that dolphin parks provide the only opportunity for much of the public to see marine mammals (Smith 147). Most Australians, so this argument goes, live in cities and never get to see these animals. It is claimed that marine parks allow the average Australian to appreciate our marine wildlife. However, as Smith states, dolphins, whales and seals can be viewed in the wild at a number of places on the Australian coast. In fact, there are more places where they can be seen in the wild than places where they can be seen in captivity. Moreover, most Australians would have to travel less to get to these locations than they would to get to the marine parks on the Gold Coast. In addition, places where there are wild marine mammals do not charge an exorbitant entry fee – they are free.

Dr Alison Lane, the director of the Cairns Marine Science Institute, contends that we need marine parks for scientific research (78). She argues that much of our knowledge of marine mammals comes from studies which were undertaken at marine parks. The knowledge which is obtained at marine parks, so this argument goes, can be useful for planning for the conservation of marine mammal species. However, as Jones explains, park research is only useful for understanding captive animals and is not useful for learning about animals in the wild (34). Dolphin and whale biology changes in marine park conditions. Their diets are different, they have significantly lower life spans and they are more prone to disease. In addition, marine mammals in dolphin parks are trained and this means that their patterns of social behavior are changed. Therefore research undertaken at marine parks is generally not reliable.

It is the contention of the Marine Park Owners Association that marine parks attract a lot of foreign tourists (“Marine Parks” B4). This position goes on to assert that these tourists spend a lot of money, increasing our foreign exchange earnings and assisting our national balance of payments. However, foreign tourists would still come to Australia if the parks were closed down. Indeed, surveys of overseas tourists show that they come here for a variety of other reasons and not to visit places like Seaworld (“The Age,” “Good Weekend”). Tourists come here to see our native wildlife in its natural environment and not to see it in cages and cement pools. They can see animals in those condition in their own countries Furthermore, we should be promoting our beautiful natural environment to tourists and not the ugly concrete marine park venues.

Dolphin parks are unnecessary and cruel. The dolphins and whales in these parks are kept in very small, cramped ponds, whereas in the wild they are used to roaming long distances across the seas. Furthermore, the concrete walls of the pools interfere with the animals’ sonar systems of communication. In addition, keeping them in pools is a terrible restriction of the freedom of fellow creatures who may have very high levels of intelligence and a sophisticated language ability. Moreover, there are many documented cases of marine mammals helping humans who are in danger at sea or helping fisherman with their work.

In conclusion, these parks should be closed, or at the very least, no new animals should be captured for marine parks in the future. Our society is no longer prepared to tolerate unnecessary cruelty to animals for science and entertainment. If we continue with our past crimes against these creatures we will be remembered as cruel and inhuman by the generations of the future.


Source: (slightly altered)


Analyzing A Model Persuasive Essay

  1. Where is the thesis statement for this paper? (be specific) What position is the author arguing in this paper?


Answer the following questions about paragraph 2:

  1. Briefly summarize the argument in the first half of paragraph 2 which opposes the writer’s position.




  1. What words/phrases does the writer use to make these statements appear debatable and possibly untrue?



  1. What signal word does the writer use to tell the reader that s/he is shifting from opposing arguments to supporting arguments?


  1. How does the author refute / counter this argument?




  1. What signal words does the writer use to list the supporting arguments in this paragraph?



Answer the following questions about paragraph 3

  1. Briefly summarize the argument in paragraph 3 which opposes the writer’s position.



  1. What words does the author use to show that the ideas here do not come from the author and may not represent his / her own beliefs?



Note: Paragraph 5 of the model is very different from paragraphs 2, 3 and 4. The writer begins the paragraph by restating the main premise – “Dolphin parks are unnecessary and cruel.” Then the writer only presents arguments that support the main premise. There are no opposing arguments. This is because the writer has already dismissed the opposing arguments in earlier paragraphs and is now attempting to convince the reader that the

main premise is the best and most correct position on the issue.

Answer the following questions about paragraph 5:

  1. How many different supporting arguments does the writer present in this paragraph?


  1. What signal words does the writer use to list these arguments?



  1. What methods of persuasion are used in this essay? (Facts & statistics, Referring to an authority, Examples, Predict the consequence, Answer the opposition) Give the name and paragraph in which they appear.  Note that more than one method will be used for some paragraphs.






  1. What could be a better title for this essay?

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