Ethics and the killing of wild sentient animals

The ethical principles advocated for managing and using domestic and captive animals are increasingly seen as inadequate for guiding the management of wild animals. A growing number of people find it difficult to support vertebrate pest control, particularly because of their negative perceptions of killing. Although there is general acceptance that animals, whether domestic or wild, should be killed as humanely as possible, there is less agreement about whether some animals should be killed at all. In population ecology we know that population size is a balance between reproduction and mortality and that as populations increase, limits are set more often through increasing mortality than reducing reproduction. Here we explore whether such dynamics can be the basis of an ecological ethic, where our actions are determined by ecological, individual animal welfare, and human values.

Author O'Connor, C., Warburton, B. and Fisher, M
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Institution Landcare Research
Pages 203-207
Region NZ
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