Should the lion eat straw like the ox? Animal ethics and the predation problem

Jozef Keulartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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 Donaldson and Kymlicka’s political theory of animal rights.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimals in Our Midst: The Challenges of Co-existing with Animals in the Anthropocene
EditorsB. Bovenkerk, J. Keulartz
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783030635237
ISBN (Print)9783030635220
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics
ISSN (Print)1570-3010
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1737


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