Talk: Should we intervene in nature to help wild animals?

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It is often presumed that the well-being of wild animal individuals should be irrelevant to our ethico-political decision-making. Arguments for this conclusion include the views that life in the wild is idyllic; that “nature knows best” and we can only hubristically mess up; that eco-systems (and species) have intrinsic value and shouldn’t be modified; that non-human animals don’t count in general, or count for much less than human animals (speciesism); that non-harm is of much greater importance than help, and that we can’t help wild animals on a large scale without harming some; or that we should, at any rate, have very different priorities. In this talk, we examine the evidence, or lack thereof, for these views and ask: How should we act with respect to wild animals?


The talk was held at the University of Zurich on December 6, 2013.

Horta, O. (2010). Debunking the idyllic view of natural processes: Population dynamics and suffering in the wild. Télos.

McMahan, J. (2010). The meat eaters. New York Times.

Ng, Y. (1995). Towards welfare biology: Evolutionary economics of animal conciousness and suffering. Biology and Philosophy.

Pearce, D. (2012). A welfare state for elephants? A case of compassionate stewardship. BLTC Research.

Tomasik, B. (2009). The importance of wild animal suffering. Foundational Research Institute.


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