Born to be Wild

Environmental Ethics 24 (1):3-21 (2002)
Abstract
With the turning of wilderness areas into wildlife parks and the returning of developed areas of land to the forces of nature, intermediate hybrid realms surface in which wild and managed nature become increasingly entangled. A partitioning of environmental philosophy into ecoethics and animal welfare ethics leaves these mixed territories relatively uncharted—the first dealing with wild (animals), the second with the welfare of captive or domestic animals. In this article, we explore an environmental philosophy that considers explicitly these mixed situations. We examine a recent Dutch policy of introducing domesticated and semi-wild large herbivores in newly developed nature areas. Larger issues are at stake, such as the intertwinement of nature and culture, the dynamic character of de-domestication processes, and the relation between concepts of authenticity and the wild. We sketch a pluralistic, dynamic, and pragmatic environmental philosophy that is capable of dealing with the complicated ethicalproblems concerning creatures and land caught between domestication and the wild
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