Assisting Wild Animals Vulnerable to Climate Change: Why Ethical Strategies Diverge

Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (2):179-195 (2021)
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Many individual sentient wild animals are vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change. In this article, I suggest that animal ethicists who take sentient animals’ moral status seriously are likely to agree that, other things being equal, we have moral responsibilities to assist wild animals made vulnerable to climate change. However, I also argue that these ethicists are likely to diverge in terms of the strategies they believe would actually fulfil such moral responsibilities, depending on whether their primary concern is rectificatory justice or duties of beneficence. To support this argument, I consider three plausible strategies for helping wild animals vulnerable to climate change: rescue and rehabilitation, habitat restoration, and assisted migration. I argue that different theoretical approaches to animal ethics are likely to diverge on aspects of all these strategies. These differences mean that the process of creating wide agreement among animal ethicists on climate adaptation strategies to assist vulnerable wild animals faces significant hurdles.



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Clare Alexandra Palmer
Texas A&M University

References found in this work

Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.

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