© 2016

Animal Ethics in the Age of Humans

Blurring boundaries in human-animal relationships

  • Bernice Bovenkerk
  • Jozef Keulartz


  • This is the first book to systematically address the far-reaching changes in human-animal relationships during the Anthropocene.

  • Addresses human-animal relationships specifically from an ethics perspective.

  • Explores blurring boundaries between humans and animals, between wild and domesticated animals, in situ and ex situ conservation, and between individualistic animal ethics and holistic environmental ethics.


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Between Human and Animal

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 23-23
    2. Sanne van der Hout
      Pages 39-51
    3. Eva Meijer
      Pages 53-72
    4. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Susan McCarthy
      Pages 103-118
    5. Henk van den Belt
      Pages 119-127
  3. Between Wild and Domestic

  4. Between Freedom and Captivity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 241-241
    2. Jozef Keulartz
      Pages 243-264
    3. Aaron Simmons
      Pages 265-277

About this book


This book provides reflection on the increasingly blurry boundaries that characterize the human-animal relationship. In the Anthropocene humans and animals have come closer together and this asks for rethinking old divisions. Firstly, new scientific insights and technological advances lead to a blurring of the boundaries between animals and humans. Secondly, our increasing influence on nature leads to a rethinking of the old distinction between individual animal ethics and collectivist environmental ethics. Thirdly, ongoing urbanization and destruction of animal habitats leads to a blurring between the categories of wild and domesticated animals. Finally, globalization and global climate change have led to the fragmentation of natural habitats, blurring the old distinction between in situ and ex situ conservation. In this book, researchers at the cutting edge of their fields systematically examine the broad field of human-animal relations, dealing with wild, liminal, and domestic animals, with conservation, and zoos, and with technologies such as biomimicry. This book is timely in that it explores the new directions in which our thinking about the human-animal relationship are developing. While the target audience primarily consists of animal studies scholars, coming from a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, sociology, psychology, ethology, literature, and film studies, many of the topics that are discussed have relevance beyond a purely theoretical one; as such the book also aims to inspire for example biologists, conservationists, and zoo keepers to reflect on their relationship with animals.


animal ethics enrvironmental ethics nature conservation human-animal distinction animals in captivity assisted migration for animals wildlife management ethics of wild animals wild and domestic animals animal and human emotions biomimicry wild animals and climate change animal labour the wilderness status of the wolf ethics of captivity

Editors and affiliations

  • Bernice Bovenkerk
    • 1
  • Jozef Keulartz
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WageningenWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

About the editors

Dr. Bernice Bovenkerk is assistant professor at the Philosophy Group at Wageningen University. Previously she was post-doc and lecturer at the Ethics Institute at Utrecht University. She received her PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia, on a dissertation titled The Biotechnology Debate. Democracy in the face of intractable disagreement (which she published with Springer). She received her Master’s title at the University of Amsterdam on a thesis titled Pluralism in Environmental Ethics. Bernice Bovenkerk is currently working on an Innovative Research Grant about the ethics of animal domestication. She has recently carried out research about the moral status  and welfare of fish. Her research interests concern issues in animal and environmental ethics and political philosophy. Current topics are the moral status of animals and other natural entities, climate ethics, and deliberative democracy.

Jozef Keulartz is emeritus Professor of Environmental Philosophy at the Radboud University Nijmegen, and senior researcher Applied Philosophy at Wageningen University and Research Centre. He has published extensively in different areas of science and technology studies, social and political philosophy, bioethics, environmental ethics and nature policy. His books include Die verkehrte Welt des Jürgen Habermas [The Topsy-Turvy World of Jürgen Habermas, 1995], Van bestraffing naar behandeling [From Punishment to Treatment, 1996, 4rd ed], Struggle for Nature – A Critique of Radical Ecology (1998), and Werken aan de grens – een pragmatische visie op natuur en milieu [Boundary-Work: A Pragmatist View on Nature and Environment, 2005]. He is editor of Wilhelm Dilthey: Kritiek van de historische rede [Wilhelm Dilthey: Critique of Historical Reason, 1994] and co-editor of Foucault herdenken [In Memory of Foucault, 1995], Museum Aarde [Museum Earth, 1997], Pragmatist Ethics for a Technological Culture (Kluwer, 2002), Legitimacy in European Nature Conservation Policy (Springer, 2008), New Visions of Nature (Springer, 2009), Environmental Aesthetics. Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground (Fordham University Press, 2013), and Old World and New World Perspectives in Environmental Philosophy (Springer, 2014).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Animal Ethics in the Age of Humans
  • Book Subtitle Blurring boundaries in human-animal relationships
  • Editors Bernice Bovenkerk
    Jozef Keulartz
  • Series Title The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics
  • Series Abbreviated Title Int. Library of Environm.
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-44205-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83010-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-44206-8
  • Series ISSN 1570-3010
  • Series E-ISSN 2215-1737
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 414
  • Number of Illustrations 5 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Nature
    Environment, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


The first book to systematically address the far-reaching changes in human-animal relationships during the Anthropocene 

Focuses on rethinking the traditional divisions between humans and animals

Contains contributions from researchers at the cutting edge of their fields who systematically examine the broad field of human-animal relations