Hmmm...this sort of thing is often a PR exercise, IMO.
It blanket-covers a whole range of activities, and all species are different.
And money is vital for jobs etc...
What do you think will happen to those cubs should the places close up shop?
Agree with you.
I think a lot of this is motivated by Greenie Lefties.
There are bad organisations, but also some very good ones.
And although perhaps petting and human/animal interaction may not be ideal, it does play a role in education and environmental awareness.
A personal story:
This past April, my family and I went to Orlando.
Sea World came up as an option to visit.
I love Whales and other Cetaceans and have done a lot of reading and research on them.
Over the past few years, a very vocal, anti movment has arisen, mainly after the release of the movie "Blackfish"
Without going into the whole debate, a lot of poeple feel that it is incredibly cruel to keep Killer Whales in captivity. They want to have the shows stopped and the current kW returned to the wild, and non more kept in captivity.
So while we were planning the trip, the option of going to Sea World came up.
In the end, we decided to go. And we went to see the KW, and we saw the show.
My 8 yo daughter was absolutely mesmerised. She loved seeing the whales, and in fact her and myself went to one of the viewing windows and spent hours and hours watching them.
My daughter says that for her, the highlight of the whole trip (Magic Kingdom, Kennedy Space Centre and many other places) was Sea World.
And many months later she still talks about the day at Sea World and looks on You Tube for videos on whales and dolphins etc.
The awareness that the visit has raised in her is huge.
So is it cruel to keep KW in captivity? Probably.
But if those animals eventually create a love of animals, nature, and the wild, and eventual help with the protection of the ones out in the wild, then maybe it's not a bad thing?