The Ethical Assessment of Touch Pools in Aquariums by Means of the Ethical Matrix

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Pierfrancesco Biasetti, Daniela Florio, Claudia Gili, Barbara de Mori
Journal of Agricultural Environmental Ethics
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Touch pools are popular open-topped fish tanks often found in aquariums where visitors may interact with animals, by touching and sometimes even feeding them, for educational and recreational purposes. However, although animal interactions are becoming increasingly popular in recent years, the welfare impact on the animals and the educational effectiveness of such interactions is under debate. Awareness concerning the different, and sometimes controversial, aspects connected with such interactions has spread. The aim of this paper is to investigate the ethical issues arising from the presence of touch pools in aquariums and facilities alike. In particular, possible sources of moral conflicts between five interested parties will be identified and discussed: biodiversity; aquariums; staff involved with touch pools; individual animals used in the touch pools; visitors interacting with animals in touch pools. In order to assess the framework of ethical demands from different parties, it will be used an analytical tool provided by a revised version of the Ethical Matrix.


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