Laura's Reviews > Ethics on the Ark: Zoos, Animal Welfare, and Wildlife Conservation

Ethics on the Ark by Bryan G. Norton
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's review
Jan 15, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: animals, nonfiction, zoo, animal-ethics
Read in January, 2009

Bravo to the editors for compiling essays covering the extremes of both the pro- and anti-zoo perspectives (and managing a few middle-ground compromises). This book is the result of a series of discussion groups held in Atlanta. A heavy emphasis is placed on the ethics of captive breeding -- how it should be managed, whether it actually accomplishes anything related to conservation, whether it should be done at all. There is an attempt made to reconcile the conservationists and the animal rights perspectives, with the general conclusion that at best they can agree to disagree. They don't sugarcoat the issues -- this should be required reading for anyone in exotic animal care, especially within the zoo world. It's refreshing to see some less delusional takes on zoo conservation efforts. My only real objection is the standard "All hail the AZA!" attitude permeating the essays (all facilities fall into two categories: AZA accredited, or dumpy roadside attractions that must be shut down to save the reputation of zoos). The hypocrisy and hubris aside, this is an excellent presentation of ethical issues within zoos and in the field of conservation as a whole.
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