The Ethics of Captivity

The Ethics of Captivity, a new volume edited by Lori Gruen, is reviewed in Psychology Today by Mark Bekoff at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Bekoff writes:

Dr. Gruen has been thinking about the ethics of captivity for a long time and has gathered an extremely knowledgeable group of writers to reflect on the specific conditions of captivity and the social and ethical implications of keeping animals in cages. As she notes here, “In the United States roughly 2 million people are incarcerated; billions of animals are held captive (and then killed) in the food industry every year; hundreds of thousands of animals are kept in laboratories; thousands are in zoos and aquaria; millions of ‘pets’ are captive in our homes. Though conditions of captivity vary widely for humans and for other animals, there are common ethical themes that imprisonment raises, including the value of liberty, the nature of autonomy, the meaning of dignity, and the impact of routine confinement on physical and psychological well-being.”

Bekoff concludes: “My suggestion is to read this book, share it widely, and revisit it from time to time. It’s a perfect volume for advanced undergraduate and graduate classes.”

Gruen is professor of philosophy, professor of environmental studies, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. She is also the author of Ethics and Animals: An Introduction.