Environmental Ethics


published on November 1, 2022

Dan Hooley

Wild Animal Protectorates

This article considers the collective obligations humans have to wild animals. One proposal, put forward by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, argues that we should understand wild animals as living in sovereign communities, is argued against. A Sovereignty Model is a poor fit for the unique interests of wild animals and requires stretching this concept beyond recognition. Most crucially, however, it ignores and obscures ways that human states must work to prevent their own citizens from harming wild animals. Instead, it is argued that wild animals should be seen as living in Wild Animal Protectorates, a new political category, inspired by protected states that exist among human states. This framework for thinking about the relationship between human states and wild animals has advantages over a Sovereignty Model when it comes to issues of borders, political representation, and international protection.