Abstract

Keeping animals captive in zoos and aquariums is commonly justified by claiming that doing so produces worthwhile consequences in terms of public education and animal conservation. I take a utilitarian approach to the issue, and, after establishing a view on the moral status of animals, assert that these arguments in favor of zoos and aquariums fail. Furthermore, if, as I suspect they are, these two justifications turn out to form the foundation of the argument justifying these institutions, then we ought to seriously reconsider the continued existence of zoos and aquariums altogether.

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