The continuing existence of zoos and their good purposes such as conservation, science, education, and recreation, can be ethically justified only if zoos guarantee the welfare of their animals. The usual criteria for measuring animal welfare in zoos are physical health, long life, and reproduction. This paper looks at these criteria and finds them insufficient. Additional criteria are submitted to expand the range of welfare considerations: natural and abnormal behavior; freedom and choice; and dignity. All these criteria should play a role in analyzing zoo animal welfare and interests but dignity has the overriding part because it impacts on both animal and human interests.
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Wickins-Dražilová, D. Zoo Animal Welfare. J Agric Environ Ethics 19, 27–36 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-005-4380-2