Right to leisure? Refocusing on the dolphin

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Publication details

Yerbury, R, Boyd, W, Lloyd, D & Brooks, A 2017, 'Right to leisure? Refocusing on the dolphin', Annals of Leisure Research, vol. 20, pp. 368-385.

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Leisure, especially when in nature or involving non-human animals, produces positive benefits for well-being. Understood within the framework of the biophilia hypothesis, nature fulfils inherent human needs and promotes well-being. Assuming leisure is a human right, the link between people’s interactions with nature, leisure activity and biophilia are clear – leisure interaction with animals satisfies fundamental human needs, reinforcing the assumption of leisure as a human right. Nevertheless, the rights of other beings and nature require consideration. This paper examines one particular leisure activity, human interaction with captive dolphins and the impacts of the intersection, both on human and dolphin well-being. Drawing on three main perspectives – animal ethics, animal welfare and environmental ethics – the paper challenges the justification of captivity for leisure. It seeks to balance anthropocentric benefits with a more ecocentric contemplation of dolphins’ entitlement to nature and well-being, in a novel application of the biophilia framework to animals.

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