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The Respect for Nature view

Advocates of respect for nature believe that we have a duty to protect not just individual animals, but the species to which they belong – and, in particular, the integrity of each species.

For those who hold this view, the problem, when a species becomes extinct, is not just that there is a loss of resources or reduction in recreational opportunities. It is that the species in itself is of value, and it no longer exists.

Again, because the preservation of species is in itself morally good, we should respect nature and its rich genetic structures. We should not genetically modify species, since that involves disrespectful interference.

A similar view can, of course, be taken about more established ways of interfering with the nature of animals, including traditional selective breeding.

Examples of statements typically made on the basis of this view:

“We should leave animals the way evolution made them.”

“Endangered species have to be protected from extinction.”

“Nature must take its course.”