The authors of this study proposed to identify key factors in captive elephant welfare, in order to formulate more appropriate standards and regulations for humane care. People who interact directly with elephants, researchers, veterinarians, zoo administrators, and animal welfare advocates were asked to rate the importance of each care scenario. Respondents agreed on some points and diverged on others, tending to value most highly the components of care with which they were personally most involved. Nevertheless, the authors maintain that integrating diverse viewpoints into the formulation of elephant welfare standards is important.
This paper critiques the conflicting conceptualizations of animal welfare that are expressed by zoos and aquaria when they serve animal products at onsite restaurants. The authors begin by surveying the goals and values of in the U.S. and E.U., and find that animal welfare is an important value of most zoos and aquaria, even when it is not made explicit. When they examined the online menus of 55 zoos, all were based on meat, with few vegetarian or vegan options, and most meat came from conventionally (factory) farmed sources. Meat provided to zoo animals was also from conventionally farmed sources, and animals purchased as live food for zoo animals were handled with little concern for their welfare. The authors conclude that these practices are inconsistent with the animal welfare mission of zoos and aquaria, and call upon them to apply animal welfare values to all animals that come within the sphere of their operations.
Is Sustainable Exploitation of Coral Reefs Possible? A View from the Standpoint of the Marine Aquarium TradeSubmitted on Feb 07, 2014 (Original item from 2014) Entertainment Animals | Wildlife and Exotics
This article proposes the exportation of reef animals for the marine aquarium trade (MAT) as an economic alternative to overfishing for human communities that have been historically dependent on coral reefs. The authors argue that selective fishing of MAT species is sustainable with appropriate regulation, and is desirable because the cultural and social dependence on coral reefs of humans constitutes an ecological system along with the reefs that must be managed as a whole. The success of this approach relies on intensive regulation, monitoring, and enforcement at the local, national, and international level, involving harvesters, export authorities, import authorities in broad and diverse international markets, retailers and retail customers, most of which is not currently in existence. The authors do not discuss how these extensive and complex monitoring mechanisms are to be developed or funded, or how reef species may be impacted in the meantime. They also argue against replacing wild MAT with aquacultural production of MAT species, since that would remove the economic benefit of the wild MAT from the human economy.
Do Formal Inspections Ensure that British Zoos Meet and Improve on Minimum Animal Welfare Standards?Submitted on Jan 14, 2014 (Original item from 2013) Entertainment Animals | General Animal Protection | Wildlife and Exotics
This study explored whether inspections lead to animal welfare improvements in British zoos. The authors examined two consecutive inspection reports for 136 zoos in Britain to determine the level of compliance with minimum animal welfare standards. The results showed no evidence of an overall improvement in this area. The findings also pointed to a lack of consistency between inspectors and a high proportion of zoos failing to meet minimum animal welfare standards. Based on the study, the authors suggest that the current system of inspection and licensing is subpar and in need of improvement.
This study examined how the behavior of animals in a petting zoo is affected by the presence of visitors. Two studies with 15 goats, 16 llamas, and 6 pot-bellied pigs were carried out at an animal display in Scotland. Based on the results, the authors concluded that the welfare of the animals under study was not profoundly impacted by visitors, although the pigs and llama were found to be more sensitive to visitor pressure than goats and therefore they suggest that particular attention to their welfare may be necessary.
Project ChimpCARE: Evaluating the Care, Management, and Welfare of Privately Owned Chimpanzees in the United StatesSubmitted on Dec 10, 2013 (Original item from 2013) Companion Animals | Entertainment Animals | General Animal Protection | Wildlife and Exotics
This conference presentation focused on factors that have precipitated the current situation for chimpanzees in the U.S. and Project ChimpCARE’s collaborative approach in response. The talk highlighted Project ChimpCARE’s work in quantifying the number of privately owned chimpanzees in the U.S., including those in roadside attractions and pet-breeding facilities as well as individuals kept as companion animals or used as performers. It also describes the organization’s assessment of chimpanzees’ current care and management and their efforts to work toward sustainable solutions.
A Survey of Foot Problems, Stereotypic Behaviour and Floor Type in Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in European ZoosSubmitted on Dec 06, 2013 (Original item from 2013) Entertainment Animals | General Animal Protection
This article examined whether foot problems in captive Asian elephants can be linked to the type of floor in their enclosure and engagement in repetitive behavior. The authors collected information on 87 Asian elephants in 32 European zoos. The majority of elephants under study were kept in an environment with sand or concrete flooring, a substantial proportion of the elephants displayed repetitive behavior, and a total of 59 elephants had foot problems. The findings showed that elephants that displayed stereotypic behavior or that were housed on sand or concrete were more likely to have foot problems than others.
This research explored the efficacy of training and its impact on keeper-animal relationships. The study included rhinoceros, macaques, and zebras from 6 zoos across the UK and U.S., who were classified as either formally trained, partially trained, or untrained. The findings showed that formally trained animals responded faster to keeper cues than those who were partially trained or untrained. The authors conclude that training can potentially reduce animals’ fear of humans and as a result may contribute to positive keeper-animal relationships and improved animal welfare.
This report details findings from a study commissioned by Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants into public perceptions about the elephants housed at the Woodland Park Zoo. The study was conducted as part of Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants’ push for the retirement of the zoo’s elephants. The report outlines a variety of attitudes from Seattleites including their support for retiring the elephants, their perceptions of the credibility of the zoo’s task force on the topic, and the likelihood they would visit the zoo if there were no longer an elephant exhibit.
In recent decades, zoo welfare science has progressed from using primarily resource-based assessments of welfare (e.g. appropriate space, shelter, nutrition) to integrating measurement of the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of individual animals. This paper discusses current directions in zoo animal welfare assessment and emphasizes the importance of integrating the measurement and promotion of positive affective states.
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