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Environmental Ethics

Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 1986

David H. Bennett
Pages 47-58
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics19868112

Triage as a Species Preservation Strategy

In this paper I discuss what triage is and how it might be applied to the preservation of endangered species. I compare the suggested application oftriage to endangered species with its application to wartime military practice, distribution of food aid, and human population control to show that the situation of endangered species is not analogous to these other suggested uses. I argue that, as far as species preservation is concemed, triage starts with the wrong norms and values: it is “human chauvinistic,” giving primacy to economic, political, and sociocultural aspects that emphasize human interests without recognizing the connection between the survival of other species and the survival of humans.