Perception of the ethical acceptability of live prey feeding to aquatic species kept in captivity

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Abstract

Previous research into public perceptions of live prey feeding has been focused on terrestrial animals. The reasons for this likely relate to the difficulty humans have in being compassionate to animals who are phylogenetically distantly related. In order to test these assumptions, the general public (two groups; one who had just visited an aquarium; and one group who had just visited a zoo), aquarium professionals in the UK/US and terrestrial zoo animal professionals (UK) were investigated to see how they would differ in their responses when asked about feeding various live aquatic animals to one another. Likert based surveys were used to obtain data face to face and via online social media. Demographics in previous research identified a lower acceptance of live prey feeding by females, however in aquatic animals this was not reflected. Instead, separations in perception were seen to exist between participants dependent on whether they had just visited a zoo or aquarium, or worked with animals.

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Marshall, L., McCormick, W. D., & Cooke, G. M. (2019). Perception of the ethical acceptability of live prey feeding to aquatic species kept in captivity. PLoS ONE, 14(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216777

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