Social Justice Research

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 122–139 | Cite as

Wild Justice Redux: What We Know About Social Justice in Animals and Why It Matters

  • Jessica PierceEmail author
  • Marc Bekoff


Social justice in animals is beginning to attract interest in a broad range of academic disciplines. Justice is an important area of study because it may help explain social dynamics among individuals living in tightly-knit groups, as well as social interactions among individuals who only occasionally meet. In this paper, we provide an overview of what is currently known about social justice in animals and offer an agenda for further research. We provide working definitions of key terms, outline some central research questions, and explore some of the challenges of studying social justice in animals, as well as the promise of the work we're proposing. Finally, we suggest why continued research into animal cognition and social behavior has significant ethical implications for our treatment of nonhuman animals.


Social justice Animals Wild justice Play Prosocial, captive Fairness Inequity aversion Ethics Empathy Cooperation Morality Primates Canids Cognitive ethology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Bioethics and HumanitiesUniversity of Colorado Health SciencesDenverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyThe University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.LyonsUSA

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