Het verbod op wilde circusdieren Welzijn, ethiek en politiek
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In October 2012 the government published a new Coalition Agreement. In this agreement they announced that there will come a ban on wild circus animals. However, other kept and trained animals are not mentioned in this document. This raises the question whether (a) the context in which an animal lives and (b) the purpose for keeping an animal are relevant for the ethical evaluation and justification of training methods or the performing of what is trained. To answer this question I compared in this research wild circus animals with horses, as those are animals that are also trained animals and with animals kept in zoos for their comparability in terms of wildness. I searched for similarities and differences in terms of welfare of the animals, the animals capacities and the purpose for keeping the animals. Welfare of circus animals has been researched in 2009. This research states that the welfare of elephants is severely affected. The wellbeing of tigers and lions is moderately affected. Also horses are not free of welfare problems. These arguments from welfare only cannot ethically justify the differences in our treatment between wild circus animals and horses. This equally holds for animals kept in zoos that are also not free from problems with their wellbeing. Another argument to justify the plurality of views on the evaluation of wild circus animals starts at the differences in the capacities of animals. However, if the capacities are the argument for the distinction in judgment, every species should be analyzed separately. A ban on all wild circus animals is too general. There are differences in the rating of the purposes of keeping animals. Based on the purpose there can be made a distinction between animals in the zoo and wild circus animals. However, both horses and circus animals are kept for amusement, so there is no relevant difference between those animals. To deal with this situation, ethical theories can help, because they (partly) underlie the above described differences. For an Utilitarian maximization of overall happiness for sentient beings is the final aim. Looked from the Capabilities Approach it is important that animals get the opportunity to develop their capacities and therefore get the chance to flourish. For the Relational / Care theory the bond with the animal counts and whether it is your animal. If you have a good relation with your animal, you have a legitimate reason to be biased in favor of your own animal or the animal you care for. In the end, I conclude that the context in which an animal lives and the purpose for which it is kept for are not sufficient arguments to justify the plurality of ethical judgment concerning the training and the performance of what is trained. Based on my analysis, I conclude that there are no morally relevant differences between the animals even if we take the context or the purpose into account.