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Launching Ethical Arks

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Zoo Animal Welfare

Part of the book series: Animal Welfare ((AWNS,volume 14))

Abstract

Zoo and aquarium directors must be relentlessly vigilant to protect the core ethical values of the organization. We believe that providing optimal welfare for zoo and aquarium animals adds value to the enterprise. Customers demand quality and they will not long patronize any organization that enables suffering or neglect. The priority of operating excellence starts with the health and welfare of every animal in the zoo. For animal welfare science to become animal welfare practice, zoos and aquariums must step up to the challenge of growing our intellectual capital. Outside resources to support the institutional initiatives of curators, keepers, and veterinarians are critical as there aren’t enough scientists to advance zoo animal welfare by their efforts alone. The zoo must become an ethical, caring, uplifting oasis where wildlife can fulfill their destiny as self-sustaining ambassadors for the natural world. The commitment to animal welfare should not be hidden or oblique. Just as conservation has become a salient feature of the modern zoo, so must animal welfare. It is essential that we develop a sophisticated understanding of the biology and the behavior of the animals we manage. It is the thesis of this book that by our history and by our intent, animal welfare is the primary enabler of our bond with the animals entrusted to our care. The enthusiasm of zoo professionals and their communities will determine whether zoo animal welfare will be a passing trend or a permanent and unyielding commitment.

If living creatures cannot be left in their original habitat, the least that can be done is to place them in natural and responsive surroundings—natural so that their character is not warped, and responsive so that their individuality and creativity are firmly respected.

Robert Sommer

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Maple, T.L., Perdue, B.M. (2013). Launching Ethical Arks. In: Zoo Animal Welfare. Animal Welfare, vol 14. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35955-2_9

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