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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

The Republican Zoopolis: Towards A New Legitimation Framework for Relational Animal Ethics

Von Essen, Erica; Allen, Michael P.


In this article, we develop a republican framework for relational animal ethics, recently popularized in Donaldson and Kymlicka's Zoopolis. This republican framework departs from the focus on negative rights that dominate liberal animal rights theories, especially as concerns our relations to wild animals. Our proposed framework appeals to a republican standard of non-arbitrariness, or non-domination, for human interferences with such animals. This legitimation framework is more attentive to relations of care and of dependency between the species, which we contend fits the growing field of relational animal ethics. At the same time, it requires rigorous criteria be met to legitimate relations as non-dominating. We apply this framework to the morality of the supplementary feeding of wildlife, using a case study of wild boars as fed by hunters. Weakening of the concept of domination to fit the predicament of boars, we show how the republican framework can provide a principled justification for legitimate interference with a wild animal population.


Animals; Environmental ethics; Humans; Morality; Relational ethics; Sovereignty; Species; Subsistence hunting; Wild animals; Wild boars

Published in

Ethics and the Environment
2016, volume: 21, number: 1, pages: 61-88

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Allen, Michael P.
East Tennessee State University

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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