Animal Studies Journal


We are living through a pivotal moment for captive wild animals in the United States, with increased attention to their wellbeing and major changes by businesses as a result. At the same time, a desire to get up close with wild animals persists and may even be on the rise. These two concurrent phenomena are resulting in a plethora of deceptive claims. Through ‘humane-washing’ – using unregulated terms like ‘sanctuary’ and participating in misleading accreditation programs – captive wildlife facilities are profiting from making consumers feel better. After detailing this state of affairs, this article raises important questions, the answers to which will ultimately determine the extent to which the current moment will yield material differences in the lives of captive wildlife.