This roundtable unites a diverse panel of specialists from zoos, animal rights groups, and the social, ethological and natural sciences who have thought about the status, needs, and interests of individual non-human animals residing in zoological parks. We want to initiate a discussion that explores whether and in what ways modern zoos can properly address the interests of the individual animals they care for while fulfilling their other priorities (including conservation, education, and entertainment). As artificial contexts that hold animals in captivity for public display in the name of conservation and environmental education, zoological parks manage the lives of these animals from birth until death for the benefit of collective species and ecosystems. However, some anti-zoo animal rights groups have criticized modern zoos as primarily entertainment venues that are inherently unable to consider wild animal interests. In addition, in adhering to an ethic of conservation, which traditionally focuses on collective species and ecosystems, zoo conservation priorities can sometimes clash with welfare priorities, which focus on an individual’s quality of life. Nevertheless, modern zoos have made several significant advancements in prioritizing animal well-being, where an ethical duty to satisfy individual interests and provide autonomy has been growing in importance. As places that provide opportunities for multi-species encounters, zoos have a powerful potential to foster coexistence and re-establish connections between nature and people. This discussion will explore these important issues.
Anne Safiya Clay (Moderator + giving a talk) – PhD candidate in Environmental Science and Policy, Dissertation on zoos, conservation, and animal welfare
Pablo Serra-Palao (moderator)
Pr. Véronique Servais has a Master in Psychology and a PhD in anthropology and studied human-animal interactions in zoos and trainer-dolphin’s affective relationships in a marine park. Currently in Belgium.
Heather Browning – Postdoctoral research officer in animal sentience and welfare and London school of economics, former zookeeper and welfare officer
Silvina Pezzetta – Animal legal scholar, wrote on Buenos Aires Zoo from an animal rights perspective
Amélie Romain - Amélie has a PhD in Biology and Animal Behaviour at the French National Research Institute (CNRS) in Strasbourg. She has worked in the field with great apes in Gabon and Congo for 2 years. She started her company, Akongo, 5 years ago, to help zoos and laboratories around France and Europe to improve animal welfare by implementing science-based decisions.
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