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A Welfare State for Elephants? A Case Study of Compassionate Stewardship

David Pearce


Technological advances over the next few decades will mean that every cubic meter of the planet will be computationally accessible to surveillance, micromanagement and control. Such unprecedented power places an immense burden of responsibility on the planet’s cognitively dominant species – Homo sapiens. Status quo bias equates the natural with the morally good; yet the immense burden of suffering in Nature calls this intuition into question. Human and non-human animals typically flourish best when free-living rather than incarcerated or wild. This paper presents a costed case study of compassionate stewardship of an entire species of free-living non-human animals. The successful construction of an elephant welfare state would be a key historical milestone on the road to a compassionately run global ecosystem.


elephants; natural harms; compassionate stewardship; intervention in nature; neonatal care; healthcare; nutritional support; speciesism; suffering; wild animals

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2015-002-pear

Copyright (©) 2018 David Pearce – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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 - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo

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