No Room at the Zoo: Management Euthanasia and Animal Welfare

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (4):483-498 (2018)
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The practice of ‘management euthanasia’, in which zoos kill otherwise healthy surplus animals, is a controversial one. The debate over the permissibility of the practice tends to divide along two different views in animal ethics—animal rights and animal welfare. Traditionally, those arguments against the practice have come from the animal rights camp, who see it as a violation of the rights of the animal involved. Arguments in favour come from the animal welfare perspective, who argue that as the animal does not suffer, there is no harm in the practice and it is justified by its potential benefits. Here, I argue that an expansion of the welfare view, encompassing longevity and opportunities for positive welfare, give stronger considerations against management euthanasia, which then require greater benefits to justify its use.

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Heather Browning
University of Southampton


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