Environmental Theories and Ethical Positions of Stakeholders

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An environmental theory that has come about because of the issues of treating animals as people has been whether or not the animals kept in captivity will face the loss of their habitat, will face the detrimental effects of global warming with no way to be rescued and also may be targeted by hunters. “Others worry about animals themselves. Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, says that keeping and breeding animals in captivity is sometimes the only way to safeguard a species. Opponents of captivity, he argues, too often ignore the reality of habitat loss, global warming, hunters, and poachers threatening species in the wild,” according to Berdik (2013). It is a very real possibility that by releasing an animal from captivity and essentially treating them as a human that the animal could face complete loss of their natural habitat and may end up extinct or near-extinct due to hunters targeting them. There are also ethical issues that arise from animals being treated as human beings instead of as animals. The first of these is that animals may or may not possess the same cognitive abilities of humans. According to Barlow (2013), “There are a million species of animals. I have studied fewer than a dozen. Based on my research and discussions with scientists, it appears likely that at least some great apes, cetaceans, and elephants possess cognitive abilities that the Nonhuman Rights Project believes are sufficient for legal personhood. “ Because of this, it would be hard to argue that an animal can be treated as a human when they do not have the same understanding ability as a human. Another ethical issue that may arise is that medical research can be hindered due to the release of animals from captivity. “Critics say legal personhood for animals is misguided, and even dangerous. They foresee a slippery slope in which a tightening web of…...

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