Human beings have a moral duty to intervene to prevent or to mitigate the suffering of free-living animals. This article focuses on that duty, particularly as it exists when an animal asks for help and when animals who need help are within the zone of a person’s ability and willingness to help. As such, people should be free to help if they choose to do so, unencumbered by legal restrictions that outlaw such conduct. However, federal and state laws in the United States remain an obstacle, because they designate some activities that are necessary to help free-living animals as unlawful. Laws should not interfere with human beings’ benign interactions with nature and, in particular, people should be legally permitted to help free-living animals. People should actually assist the individual animals who want or need help, rather than trading individual assistance in favor of ecosystem “management,” policy concerns that favor expediency and budget limitations, or any other tangential issues.


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pp. 63-77
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