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Abstract

It’s widely agreed that animal pain matters morally – that we shouldn’t, for instance, starve our animal companions, and that we should provide medical care to sick or injured agricultural animals, and not only because it benefits us to do so. But do we have the same moral responsibilities towards wild animals? Should we feed them if they are starving, and intervene to prevent them from undergoing other forms of suffering, for instance from predation? Using an example that includes both wild and domesticated animals, I outline two contrasting ways of thinking about our moral responsibilities with respect to assisting animals that are apparently in need. One approach is based entirely around animals’ capacities; the other takes context and historical relations into account as well. While not attempting to adjudicate between these views, I’ll point out the advantages and difficulties of both.

DOI

10.15368/bts.2013v16n1.4

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