How Can the Ethics of Museum Deaccessioning be Applied to Live Objects?

India Burchell


This paper will look at the ethics of deaccessioning policies and ask how they should be applied to live objects. It will give a historical overview of museum deaccessioning policies, analyze some of the controversies which have arisen and consider how the procedures vary between countries. Furthermore, it will look at cases from other zoological institutions and the recent Seaworld debate to consider the transfer of animals and the morality of keeping killer whales. Overall the paper will argue that there are different ethical questions associated with the disposal of live objects and conclude by asking how the ethics concerning the disposal of live objects contributes to our understanding of deaccessioning. 

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