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Psychological, Ecological, and Ethical Dimensions of Bottlenose Dolphin Captivity

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Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should be kept in captivity. In this paper, I discuss the different dimensions of bottlenose dolphin captivity focusing on the physiological, psychological, ecological and ethical concerns raised when comparing captive to wild bottlenose dolphins. In an analysis of the scientific literature, I found that captive bottlenose dolphins experience negative physical and psychological effects, including a shorter life span and a decrease in brain size. They also engage in more risky and harmful behaviors. Preexisting brain structures in bottlenose dolphins indicate enhanced emotional processing possibly leading to a more difficult life in captivity. Furthermore, modeling of bottlenose dolphin social networks have found that removal of dolphins from existing populations have negative repercussions for ecological communities, particularly effecting present and future pods due to their complex social systems called fission fusion societies. Furthermore, removal can have a deleterious effect on the environment due to their role as top predators. Available data suggest that bottlenose dolphins should be classified as non-human persons due to their cognitive abilities such as self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, and symbolic communication. This moral classification demands significant human duties and responsibilities to protect these cetaceans. Due to their similarities to humans, these results suggest that keeping bottlenose dolphins in captivity is ethically questionable and perhaps unjustifiable as captivity violates their basic rights.

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2017-05

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The Ethics of Keeping Large Felids in Zoos

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This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in

This thesis aims to address the ethics of keeping the big cats, such as lions, tigers, and leopards, in zoos. It is a practice that has generated some controversy in light of scientific studies reporting stress among wide-ranging animals in captive enclosures, as well as in the context of wider discussions in animal welfare and conservation ethics in zoos. A driving question for this project, therefore, was "What are the arguments for and against keeping large felids in zoos/captivity?" This thesis examines the historical and current ethical approaches to evaluating the ethics of maintaining big cats in zoos. Due to many of the big cat species listed as endangered species on the IUCN redlist, the species-centered approach to zoo ethics is becoming the common viewpoint, and, as a result, zoos are deemed ethical because of their contribution to ex situ conservation practices. Further, the ethical arguments against zoos are minimized when the zoos provide suitable and appropriate enclosures for their large felids. Of course, not all zoos are created equal; the ethics of zoos need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but in general, it is ethical to maintain big cats in zoos.

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2014-05

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Examination of the Ethical Responsibility of Veterinarians Regarding Cases of Animal Abuse and Neglect

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Attitudes toward animal welfare have been evolving in our society as we have developed from early agricultural roots to an increasingly urban and technologically advanced community. However, despite the growing societal appreciation and care for animals in our homes and

Attitudes toward animal welfare have been evolving in our society as we have developed from early agricultural roots to an increasingly urban and technologically advanced community. However, despite the growing societal appreciation and care for animals in our homes and backyards, veterinarians are still faced with cases of abuse and neglect. Although it may seem obvious for veterinarians, as animal welfare advocates, to confront this dilemma each time they are faced with it, that is not always the case. In order to assess the responsibilities of veterinarians in regard to neglect and abuse, an extensive literature review and analysis was performed and practicing veterinarians were interviewed to determine their attitudes regarding the responsibility to report suspected cases of animal neglect and abuse. Specifically, these interviews focused on such topics as the educational background of the practitioners, how empathy impacts their perception of animal welfare, their relationship with law enforcement agencies, and related questions. The study demonstrated that the most prominent factor in a veterinarian's understanding of violations of animal welfare stems from their educational background. Therefore, it is recommended that veterinary medicine programs alter their curricula to emphasize animal welfare training and the obligation of veterinarians to report suspected cases of neglect and abuse.

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2013-12

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Environmental values, objectivity, and advocacy: a sociological study of academic environmental scientists

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Professional environmental scientists are increasingly under pressure to inform and even shape policy. Scientists engage policy effectively when they act within the bounds of objectivity, credibility, and authority, yet significant portions of the scientific community condemn such acts as advocacy.

Professional environmental scientists are increasingly under pressure to inform and even shape policy. Scientists engage policy effectively when they act within the bounds of objectivity, credibility, and authority, yet significant portions of the scientific community condemn such acts as advocacy. They argue that it is nonobjective, that it risks damaging the credibility of science, and that it is an abuse of authority. This means objectivity, credibility, and authority deserve direct attention before the policy advocacy quagmire can be reasonably understood. I investigate the meaning of objectivity in science and that necessarily brings the roles of values in science into question. This thesis is a sociological study of the roles environmental values play in the decisions of environmental scientists working in the institution of academia. I argue that the gridlocked nature of the environmental policy advocacy debates can be traced to what seems to be a deep tension and perhaps confusion among these scientists. I provide empirical evidence of this tension and confusion through the use of in depth semi-structured interviews among a sampling of academic environmental scientists (AES). I show that there is a struggle for these AES to reconcile their support for environmentalist values and goals with their commitment to scientific objectivity and their concerns about being credible scientists in the academy. Additionally, I supplemented my data collection with environmental sociology and history, plus philosophy and sociology of science literatures. With this, I developed a system for understanding values in science (of which environmental values are a subset) with respect to the limits of my sample and study. This examination of respondent behavior provides support that it is possible for AES to act on their environmental values without compromising their objectivity, credibility, and authority. These scientists were not likely to practice this in conversations with colleagues and policy-makers, but were likely to behave this way with students. The legitimate extension of this behavior is a viable route for continuing to integrate the human and social dimensions of environmental science into its practice, its training, and its relationship with policy.

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2012

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Seoul Grand Park, 1984-2015: a historical analysis of the changing conservation and animal welfare priorities in South Korea

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This project analyzes the efforts of Seoul Grand Park Zoo (the largest and most important zoo on the Korean peninsula) to develop and achieve the highest standards in conservation, education, animal welfare, and research over the last three decades.

This project analyzes the efforts of Seoul Grand Park Zoo (the largest and most important zoo on the Korean peninsula) to develop and achieve the highest standards in conservation, education, animal welfare, and research over the last three decades. Founded primarily as an entertainment venue in 1984, the zoo has struggled to become a scientific center that adequately provides for the animals under its care and promotes the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. Drawing on interviews from zoo officials, academics, conservationists, and animal-rights activists, I explore the animal welfare management and conservation priorities of a prominent Asian institution. Although the zoo has made significant improvements in animal welfare, it remains constrained by limited resources and government indifference. These constraints have also restricted the zoo’s ambition to become a major center for conservation; it currently concentrates on a handful of projects with broad popular appeal. Based on my interviews, greater collaboration, better communication with other researchers, and more systematic sharing of data would be especially beneficial for expanding the zoo’s conservation agenda. As research and conservation become a more prominent part of the zoo’s portfolio, potential conflicts may arise with zoo’s current emphasis on the welfare of the individual animals under its care.

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2015

Art and the Environment: How Creative Perspectives Influence Conservation Ethics

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As general awareness and concern for environmental issues has increased over time, so has the growth of environmental artwork. Artworks in this genre have been used with the intent to motivate conservation action and environmental justice action, as well as

As general awareness and concern for environmental issues has increased over time, so has the growth of environmental artwork. Artworks in this genre have been used with the intent to motivate conservation action and environmental justice action, as well as spread broader environmental awareness. Different approaches to environmental messages may have varying impacts on viewers’ beliefs and attitudes related to the environment. Yet this topic is still not widely studied. Using a combination of survey and interview techniques, this thesis examines the intersection of art, ethics, and the environment by eliciting the reactions and responses of Arizona State University students to various environmental artworks. The study design presented groups of students with differing imagery, one set categorized as environmentally hopeful or positive, the other as environmentally gloomy or negative. The New Ecological Paradigm scale (NEP) was used as a measure for ethical views. After exposure to the artworks, students showed shifts in their NEP scores in both directions, and some had no change. Between positive and negative artworks, there was no significant difference in change in score on the NEP scale. The results of the thesis inspired a suggestion for a new scale to describe an emerging environmental ethic that is evidenced by the artworks, artists statements, and student reactions in this project: the Social And Ecological Paradigm (SAEP). The paradigm abbreviation includes the letter A to emphasize the importance of considering both the social and ecological implications of human activity. This mindset addresses environmental justice concerns, positive human interactions with the environment, and sustainable human communities. At the core, it is a basic human right to live in a healthy and safe environment, and a positive societal relationship with the environment is necessary to guarantee this right for all. Art is a way for people to connect with the environment and can give insight into the way society’s environmental ethic is ever shifting.

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2022-05