Article

The Moral Relevance of the Distinction Between Domesticated and Wild Animals

Clare Palmer

in The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371963
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195371963.013.0026

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Moral Relevance of the Distinction Between Domesticated and Wild Animals

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This article considers whether a morally relevant distinction can be drawn between wild and domesticated animals. The term “wildness” can be used in several different ways, only one of which (constitutive wildness, meaning an animal that has not been domesticated by being bred in particular ways) is generally paired and contrasted with “domesticated.” Domesticated animals are normally deliberately bred and confined. One of the article's arguments concerns human initiatives that establish relations with animals and thereby change what is owed to these animals. The main relations of interest in ethics are the vulnerability and dependence in animals that are created when humans establish certain relations with them on farms, in zoos, in laboratories, and the like. Domestication is a pervasive way in which humans make animals vulnerable, and thereby duties of animal care and protection arise in a persistent way.

Keywords: wild animals; domesticated animals; wildness; ethics; vulnerability; dependence; domestication

Article.  11901 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science

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