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Environmental Ethics

Volume 2, Issue 1, Spring 1980

Alastair S. Gunn
Pages 17-37

Why Should We Care about Rare Species?

Concern for the fate of rare species leads us to ask why the extermination of species is wrong. No satisfactory account can be given in terms of animal rights, and a speciesist perspective can yield at best only a case for preservation of those species which enough people happen to care about. An attempt is made to analyze the concept of rarity, and its relation to value. Finally, it is suggested that the problem can be resolved only in terms of an environmental ethic, according to which the existence of each species, and of ecological wholes, is held to have intrinsic value.

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