Opportunities and challenges in applying the 3Rs to zoos and aquariums

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Since Russell and Burch (1959) suggested the principles of replacement, reduction, and refinement (3Rs) as a foundation for animal research, their influence has only grown in the research community. In this paper, we discuss whether the 3Rs can be constructively used as a prism to analyse decisions regarding the welfare of animals housed in zoos and aquariums (henceforth "zoo animals"). We analyse opportunities and challenges for each of the three Rs when applied to zoo animals. We discuss the following reasons to consider the use of the 3Rs in relation to zoo animals: (1) there are similarities between motivations for housing animals in zoos and using them in research that are ethically relevant to consider; (2) the professional zoo community has committed to progress towards evidence-based best practice models to ensure and enhance the welfare of animals housed in zoos; and (3) there is a growing public concern regarding the welfare of zoo animals which can, to some extent, be met by viewing current practices through the prism of the 3Rs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Volume35
Issue number4
Number of pages16
ISSN1187-7863
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • 3Rs, Zoo, Aquarium, Animal welfare, Animal care, ANIMAL-WELFARE, WILDLIFE, BEHAVIOR, CONSERVATION, RESPONSES, SCIENCE, STRESS

ID: 321277532