Stephen Clark’s article The Rights of Wild Things from 1979 was the starting point for the consideration in the animal ethics literature of the so-called ‘predation problem’. Clark examines the response of David George Ritchie to Henry Stephens Salt, the first writer who has argued explicitly in favor of animal rights. Ritchie attempts to demonstrate—via reductio ad absurdum—that animals cannot have rights, because granting them rights would oblige us to protect prey animals against predators that wrongly violate their rights. This article navigates the reader through the debate sparked off by Clarke’s article, with as final destination what I consider to be the best way to deal with the predation problem. I will successively discuss arguments against the predation reductio from Singer’s utilitarian approach, Regan’s deontological approach, Nussbaum’s capability approach, and Donadson and Kymlicka’s political theory of animal rights.
- Capability approach
- Political theory of animal rights
- Predation problem
- Rights theories