Animal Rights and the Problem of r-Strategists

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):333-45 (2017)

Abstract

Wild animal reproduction poses an important moral problem for animal rights theorists. Many wild animals give birth to large numbers of uncared-for offspring, and thus child mortality rates are far higher in nature than they are among human beings. In light of this reproductive strategy – traditionally referred to as the ‘r-strategy’ – does concern for the interests of wild animals require us to intervene in nature? In this paper, I argue that animal rights theorists should embrace fallibility-constrained interventionism: the view that intervention in nature is desirable but should be constrained by our ignorance of the inner workings of ecosystems. Though authors sometimes assume that large-scale intervention requires turning nature into an enormous zoo, I suggest an alternative. With sufficient research, a new form of gene editing called CRISPR promises to one day give us the capacity to intervene without perpetually interfering with wild animals’ liberties.

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Author's Profile

Kyle Johannsen
Trent University

References found in this work

Rescuing Justice and Equality.G. A. Cohen (ed.) - 2008 - Harvard University Press.
Animal Liberation.Peter Singer (ed.) - 1977 - Avon Books.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Noûs. Oxford University Press. pp. 425-434.
The Case for Animal Rights.Tom Regan & Mary Midgley - 1986 - The Personalist Forum 2 (1):67-71.

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Citations of this work

Wild Animal Suffering is Intractable.Nicolas Delon & Duncan Purves - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):239-260.
The Case for Welfare Biology.Asher A. Soryl, Mike R. King, Andrew J. Moore & Philip J. Seddon - 2021 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 34 (2):1-25.
Painlessly Killing Predators.Ben Bramble - 2021 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (2):217-225.
A Kantian Ethics of Paradise Engineering.Eze Paez - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):283-293.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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