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CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Dilemmas in animal welfare.

Book cover for Dilemmas in animal welfare.


This book is comprised of 11 chapters covering different dilemmas in animal welfare. It deals with how, when deciding on the best way to treat an animal or groups of animals, one can be torn either between different concerns relating to the physical and affective welfare of the animal or between concern for the welfare of the animal and other competing concerns. Topics discussed include dilemmas w...


Chapter 8 (Page no: 124)

Balancing the need for conservation and the welfare of individual animals.

Human activities and climate change have contributed to a dramatic decline in populations and species, and conservation activities are required to slow this decline. Conservation of nature is considered worthwhile by many, but for different reasons. This means that ideas about our moral obligations to protect nature, including our obligations to individual wild animals, vary. Because of this, no simple environmental ethic is likely to be adequate to guide practical decision making in conservation, particularly in situations where the protection of ecological wholes (e.g. species) impacts negatively on individual animals. Here, a practical 'ethical' approach is suggested that accommodates both the desire to conserve nature and concerns about the welfare of individual wild animals. According to this approach, our main obligation is to those sentient wild animals in whose lives we have interfered. In undertaking conservation activities that may harm individual wild animals, we are obliged to maximize the benefits of those activities and minimize any negative welfare impacts. This can be done by evaluating the relative impacts of various existing methods, choosing the most humane method, applying it in the best possible way and continuing to research more humane alternatives. This approach is illustrated by the case of the lethal control of possums in New Zealand using toxic agents. The general advantages and limitations of this 'compassionate' approach to conservation are discussed. With the continuing 'shrinking of the wild', consideration of animal welfare will become increasingly important, not only to justify conservation activities but also for achieving conservation goals.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Introduction: values, dilemmas and solutions. Author(s): Appleby, M. C. Weary, D. M. Sandøe, P.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 6) Tales about tails: is the mutilation of animals justifiable in their best interests or in ours? Author(s): Edwards, S. Bennett, P.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 28) Fat companions: understanding the welfare effects of obesity in cats and dogs. Author(s): Sandøe, P. Corr, S. Palmer, C.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 46) Welfare and quantity of life. Author(s): Franco, N. H. Magalhães-Sant'Ana, M. Olsson, I. A. S.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 67) Improving farm animal welfare: is evolution or revolution needed in production systems? Author(s): Hötzel, M. J.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 85) Whom should we eat? Why veal can be better for welfare than chicken. Author(s): Appleby, M. C.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 102) Public health and animal welfare. Author(s): Molento, C. F. M.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 148) Value conflicts in feral cat management: trap-neuter-return or trap-euthanize? Author(s): Palmer, C.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 169) Alone or together: a risk assessment approach to group housing. Author(s): Rushen, J. Passillé, A. M. de
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 188) What is suffering in animals? Author(s): Weary, D. M.

Chapter details