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David Fennell Title: Tourism, animals, and the scales of justice

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10:30 AM, Monday 21 Jun 2021 (30 minutes)

Tourism, animals, and the scales of justice


David Fennell

Animals are used in tourism in many ways. Some uses are more benign such as ecotourism (e.g., viewing elephants in natural settings), while others induce significant levels of suffering, pain and distress with the denial of dignity and respect (e.g., elephants performing at a circus). What is missing is a comprehensive overview of how just these uses may or may not be. Justice, as a concept, is complex and controversial—even more so when applied to animals. In this paper, we propose a “scales of justice” framework for animals used in tourism (deep, intermediate, shallow, and no justice) based on two different normative ethics models. The first model is based on the conventional normative ethical domain that includes deontology and consequentialism (i.e., what we are told to do), while the second model is rooted in virtue ethics (i.e., what we ought to do as individuals). The intent is to “weigh” the just and unjust use of animals in the tourism industry based on these contrasting theoretical perspectives. Elephants are used as an example through the paper. We view this approach as a springboard for more intensive investigations on how animals are used in tourism in a variety of contexts.

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