Eating animals at the zoo



Brando S & Harfeld JL (2014) Eating animals at the zoo. Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 12 (1), pp. 63-88.

In many zoological gardens, safari parks, dolphinaria, and aquaria (zoos) worldwide, all levels of staff work hard to create enriching environments as well as to highlight welfare initiatives. In these same zoos, however, food for guests and feed for animals are often sourced from unsustainable farming practices and/or produced under welfare detrimental circumstances in industrialized agriculture and fisheries. The current paper focuses on the concept of animal welfare, as an ethical dilemma for zoos in a broader sense than is usually considered. More specifically, it is an investigation into the apparent discrepancy between official animal friendly values and the lack of regard for the welfare issues surrounding the origins of the meats and fishes offered at zoo restaurants and in animal feeding practices. That is, we argue that there is a normative double standard at issue in the dichotomy between how zoos approach and assert the value of their exhibited animals and the way they approach and assert the value of the farm animals and fish that are consumed by zoo visitors and fed to zoo animals. Moreover, we explore the fundamental characteristics of this double standard and the actions that zoos can take in order to avoid this ethical animal welfare dilemma.

Zoos; Animal Welfare; Fisheries; Food Ethics; Intensive Farming

Journal for Critical Animal Studies: Volume 12, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2014
Date accepted by journal01/01/2014
Publisher URL…12-issue-1-2014/

People (1)


Ms Sabrina Brando

Ms Sabrina Brando

PhD Researcher, Psychology