Ethical considerations

Keeping wild mammals in captivity has been a controversial issue since the industrial revolution created more time for such interests. As late as the 1970s, most zoos kept species that were easy to acquire at the time, in substandard conditions. Apes, monkeys, tigers, and bears were kept in concrete and steel cages reminiscent of prison cells. This outraged many visitors. Animal welfare is a movement based on the desire to reduce animal suffering and to minimize negative impacts that might result from human interactions. The problem with this philosophy is that to some degree it depends on humans being able to assess if they themselves are having a negative impact and are causing an animal to suffer. Suffering can be very subtle, occurring without humans having the capability for observation. The biology of a species must be understood very well to make such a decision. Animal rights is based on the philosophy that each individual animal has rights that morally should not be violated. The problem with this philosophy is that it focuses on the individual exclusively, and also requires a human judgment. In other words, humans must decide on acceptable morals based on human values not the values of each species being regu-

lated. These are very heavily debated subjects that will influence the management of animals in captivity.

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