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The Case for Intervention in Nature on Behalf of Animals: a Critical Review of the Main Arguments against Intervention

Mikel Torres


If we assume that all sentient animals deserve equal moral consideration and, therefore, that their interests are morally relevant, what should be our attitude regarding natural phenomena like predation or starvation which are harmful for many wild animals? Do we have the prima facie moral obligation to try to mitigate unnecessary, avoidable and unjustified animal suffering in nature? In this paper I assume two main theses: (1) Humans and (many) animals deserve equal moral consideration; this implies that (2) We have the prima facie moral obligation to try to mitigate unnecessary, avoidable and unjustified animal suffering. Based on these assumptions, I argue that we are morally obligated to aid animals in the wild whenever doing so would not originate as much or more suffering than it would prevent.


moral consideration of animals; wild animals; intervention in nature; predation; environmentalism; animal suffering; moral agency; special obligations; natural selection; argument from species overlap

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2015-001-torr


Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Matteo Andreozzi
Managing Editor: Adele Tiengo
Associate Editors: Rod Bennison - Alma Massaro - Kim Stallwood - Jessica Ulrich
Consulting Editor: Leonardo Caffo
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board: Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Matthew R. Calarco - Gabriele Cambiotti - Piergiorgio Donatelli - Arianna Ferrari - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Barbara Muraca - Serpil Oppermann - Piergiacomo Pagano - Paola Sobbrio - Sabrina Tonutti