A Multi-Practice Ethics of Domesticated and “Wild” Animals

  • Michiel Korthals
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 3)


Many animal ethicists take as a reference wild, non-domesticated animals or animals in their “natural” habitat, i.e., the habitat that animals are supposed to have had, before humans interfered. Furthermore, they seem to suggest that ethical decision-making about the treatment of animals can abstract from the social and cultural context of these animals. In this chapter, I will tackle these two presuppositions by a pragmatist approach. Firstly, I want to explore the changing relations between wild and domesticated animals and, especially, pay attention to animals that are being de-domesticated. In the course of my argumentation it will become clear that we can speak of wild animals only to a certain extent, because humans intervene everywhere on earth into the lives of animals. Being wild is more like a limit concept than a realistic characteristic. This being the case, I will then, secondly, spend time by considering the diverse dilemmas of managing domesticated and non-domesticated animals in a world where not only the ethical status of animals is at stake but also the environmental, esthetic and social meaning and implications of livestock and animals. The dilemmas ask for an ethics of responsibility with respect to animals, which considers the effects of ethical decision-making on all the stakeholders.


Animal Welfare Domesticate Animal Ethical Decision Individual Animal Moral Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

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  • Michiel Korthals

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