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Against the View That We Are Normally Required to Assist Wild Animals

Clare Palmer


In this brief paper, I will defend the position that while sentient animals are morally considerable, we are not normally morally required to assist suffering wild animals, though this does not mean that it is ethically impermissible to do so. I will argue that this position can be defended without denying that we have obligations to assist distant suffering humans, and that it need not rely on the claim that there is something wrong with intervening in human-independent processes (“the wild”). For the purposes of this paper I will just assume that sentient animals are morally considerable. This view is widely accepted and not particularly controversial (see Palmer 2010 for a more substantial defense of this view).

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

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