On Our Moral Entanglements with Wild Animals

Gary David O'BRIEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In Just Fodder, Milburn argues for a relational account of our duties to animals. Following Clare Palmer, he argues that, though all animals have negative rights that we have a duty not to violate, we only gain positive obligations towards animals in the contexts of our relationships with them, which can be personal or political. He argues that human beings have collective positive duties towards domesticated animals, in virtue of the kind of relationship between us established by domestication. However, when it comes to wild animals, he argues that we have no such morally relevant relationships, and so we have only negative duties towards them. I argue that throughout history and even prehistory human beings have morally entangled themselves with wild animals sufficiently that we may in fact have collective positive duties towards many, if not all, wild animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages8
JournalFood Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Animal ethics
  • Environmental ethics
  • Just fodder
  • Wild animal suffering


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