Care for the Wild: An Integrative View on Wild and Domesticated Animals

Environmental Values 14 (2):251-263 (2005)

Abstract

Environmental ethics has to deal with the challenge of reconciling contrasting ecocentric and animal-centric perspectives. Two classic attempts at this reconciliation, which both adopted the metaphor of concentric circles, are discussed. It is concluded that the relationship between the animal and its environment, whether the latter is human or natural, should be a pivotal element of such reconciliation. An alternative approach is presented, inspired by care ethics, which proposes that caring for wild animals implies caring for their relationship to the natural environment and thus taking action to maintain wildlife habitat. This type of care is labelled non-specific care because it is not directed towards the individual wild animal and its specific individual needs. In contrast, caring for domestic animals is called specific care because it is much more directed towards the individual animal's needs.

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