WHP Logo

The White Horse Press

Environmental Values

Contents of Volume 27

Other volumes of EV

Environmental Values

A Duty to Cognitively Enhance Animals

Yasha Rohwer

Environmental Values 27 (2018): 137-158. doi: 10.3197/096327118X15162907484448

Download reference in Endnote or BibTex format


In this article I argue that humans have a pro tanto duty to cognitively enhance some animals threatened with extinction. I will use as a case study a particular set of animals: smaller Australian marsupials. Many of these animals are on the brink of extinction thanks to the introduction of the fox and the domestic cat to the continent of Australia. Ecologists conjecture that these marsupials do not have the behavioural flexibility to cope with these introduced predators. By introducing predators, humans performed a wrong action because it led to the extinction of species and continues to threaten many marsupials species such as woylies, Gilbert's potoroos, numbats and mountain pygmy possums. This wrong action gives rise to an obligation to intervene to prevent further species loss. Traditional means of conservation do not seem sufficient to address this obligation; therefore, there is a duty to cognitively enhance these creatures as soon as the technology is sufficiently researched and safe.


Cognitive enhancement, conservation, species extinction, intrinsic value, genetic engineering

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Varieties of Non-Anthropocentricism: Duty, Beauty, Knowledge and Reality. Marion Hourdequin

Download full text (PDF format) from IngentaConnect. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values.

Subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.

Other papers in this volume

The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222