Neglected Tropical Diseases and Long-Term Captive Animals: Ethical Considerations with Venom Lab Snakes

Journal of Applied Animal Ethics Research 1 (2024)
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Venomous snakebite is a neglected tropical disease and disease of poverty, affecting hundreds of thousands of people annually. The only effective medical intervention for snakebite is antivenom, produced primarily using captive venomous snakes as a source of venom. This paper analyzes snakes’ welfare at venom labs within this global health context. I recommend significant changes to improve the welfare of captive snakes, particularly in light of recent ethological research and attention on snakes. These recommendations are broadly consequentialist, aiming to improve the lives of the snakes and ensure that people have increased access to affordable antivenom.

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