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Ethology of the Freed Animal. Concept, Paradigm and Implementations to the Moral Status of Non-Human Animals

Marco Celentano, Dario Martinelli


The essay focuses on the methodological and theoretical premises of an emerging research area with both ethological and (bio)ethical implications: the ethology of the freed animal (EFA). Unlike existing ethological fields, EFA does not focus on the observation of nonhuman (NH) animals in a natural condition of freedom, nor on situations of captivity. Rather, EFA consists of a comparative study of NH animals that are removed from a condition of captivity, from the status of “living tool” of human beings and from any form of exploitation – instead relocated in an environment fairly appropriate to their speciesspecific and individual characteristics. Ideal places for this study are animal sanctuaries and parks/reserves where a previously captive NH animal can be reintroduced in their natural habitat or, when this proves impossible, in a contest appropriate to their characteristics and needs. Even though EFA exists already, as a de facto practice of the personnel running sanctuaries and parks, the field still lacks a recognizable scholarly paradigm, and is not yet acknowledged at institutional/academic level, nor were its moral implications thoroughly discussed. Consequently, one important aim for such a field is the establishment of an active interaction between the two parties involved (researchers and sanctuaries/parks operators).


animal abuse; animal sanctuaries; anthropization; anthrozoology; captivity; epigenetic inheritance; etho-ethnology; moral status; non-invasive observation; semiotics.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2022-01-cema

Copyright (©) 2022 Dario Martinelli, Marco Celentano – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Vilma Baricalla - Luisella Battaglia - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Luigi Lombardi Vallauri - Christoph Lumer - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Barbara Muraca - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo

© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto