ABSTRACT

At first glance one could easily be led to believe that moral consideration of the non-human world has nothing whatsoever to do with social work, that the discipline's rationale and function is unreservedly and properly human centred. This view would, however, be in stark contrast to the reawakened concern and respect for the non-human world in Western societies during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, which has been the seminal catalyst in the generation of contemporary environmental and social movements, placing considerations for the natural world onto the political agenda (Hay, 2002). From fringe beginnings, these concerns have gradually come to be embraced by the mainstream, to the extent that it is now increasingly rare to find individuals who do not consider themselves to be solicitous about the natural world. Human understanding and appreciation of the natural environment and non-human animals has been significantly enhanced and elevated by the disciplines of ecology and ethology respectively.