Environmental Ethics

Volume 44, Issue 1, Spring 2022

ISEE 2020 Special Issue

Daniel WeltmanOrcid-ID
Pages 61-83

Covert Animal Rescue
Civil Disobedience or Subrevolution?

We should conceive of illegal covert animal rescue as acts of “subrevolution” rather than as civil disobedience. Subrevolutions are revolutions that aim to overthrow some part of the government rather than the entire government. This framework better captures the relevant values than the opposing suggestion that we treat illegal covert animal rescue as civil disobedience. If animals have rights like the right not to be unjustly imprisoned and mistreated, then it does not make sense that an instance of animal rescue will be justifiable only if it meets criteria for justified civil disobedience, e.g., the requirement that the civil disobedient not rescue more animals than would be necessary to communicate their message. Thus, the framework of subrevolution is a more apt way to analyze animal rescue.