Shifting toward an Ethics of Sanctuary

Shifting toward an Ethics of Sanctuary

“If Harambe and his gorilla family lived in sanctuary rather than on display at the Cincinnati Zoo, he would still be alive. No curious child would have been in a position to crawl into the enclosure and no care staff would have had to make the horrible decision to kill a highly endangered gorilla. The gorillas would interact with each other and caregivers when they decided to; would exercise their bodies and minds as they wanted; and would be free to make choices about how to spend their time. Many respectable sanctuaries report on the personalities and interests of the animals who live there, so the public can get to know them. Some sanctuaries have live webcams. Supporters may be invited to pitch in on site and special educational activities might be arranged, but the animals decide whether they want to be seen by the occasional visitors. Harambe’s curiosity could have been safely peaked in such an environment and he would have been able to continue to develop into a majestic silverback adult.”

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Source: Shifting toward an Ethics of Sanctuary

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2 Comments

Filed under Animals, Environmental Ethics

2 responses to “Shifting toward an Ethics of Sanctuary

  1. Thanks, nice essay.

    Green concludes, “The relationship would need to be based on fundamental respect and that can be achieved by developing our own empathetic capacities, trying to understand how the animals in our care see the world. Recognizing the limits of our own ways of seeing the world and being open to learning how other species see it not only helps to promote their dignity but also has the potential to expand our own ethical perception.”

    Great new research being done in this area, e.g. Elizabeth Kolbert’s review of three new books in NYRB: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/06/23/he-tried-to-be-a-badger/?printpage=true

  2. cskolnik

    Thanks Jeff!

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