Wild Animals
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Wild Animals

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🌍 Reasons against prioritizing Wild Animals

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Most texts in this resource page talk about the importance of wild animal suffering as a cause area. This section deals with texts that explicitly argue that we should in fact not try to reduce said suffering, on a variety of grounds. Please note that the texts in other sections don’t necessarily argue that we should in fact intervene with Wild Animal Suffering, some might be neutral or ambiguous.
On risks of human interventions to reduce wild animal suffering

🦌 Introduction to Wild Animal Suffering

Long-form and collections

📚 Books

🔎Research around Wild Animal Suffering

Organisations and Libraries

Academic papers and resources

Aaltola, E. (2010) “Animal ethics and the argument from absurdity”, Environmental Values, 19, pp. 79-98.

Benatar, D. (2001) “Why the naïve argument against moral vegetarianism really is naïve”, Environmental Values, 10, pp. 103-112.

Bovenkerk, B.; Stafleu, F. Tramper, R.; Vorstenbosch, J. & Brom, F. W. A. (2003) “To act or not to act? Sheltering animals from the wild: A pluralistic account of a conflict between animal and environmental ethics”, Ethics, Place & Environment, 6, pp. 13-26.

Brown, J. (2006) “Comparative endocrinology of domestic and nondomestic felids”, Theriogenology, 66, pp. 25-36.

Bruers, S. (2015) “The predation and procreation problems: Persistent intuitions gone wild”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 85-91.

Carpendale, M. (2015) “Welfare biology as an extension of biology: Interview with Yew-Kwang Ng”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 197-202.

Clark, S. R. L. (1979) “The rights of wild things”, Inquiry, 22, pp. 171-188.

Clarke, M. & Ng, Y.-K. (2006) “Population dynamics and animal welfare: Issues raised by the culling of kangaroos in Puckapunyal”, Social Choice and Welfare, 27, pp. 407-422.

Clement, G. (2003) “The ethic of care and the problem of wild animals”, Between the Species, 13 (3).

Cowen, T. (2003) “Policing nature”, Environmental Ethics, 25, pp. 169-182.

Cripps, E. (2010) “Saving the polar bear, saving the world: Can the capabilities approach do justice to humans, animals and ecosystems?”, Res Publica, 16, pp. 1-22.

Cunha, L. C. (2015) “If natural entities have intrinsic value, should we then abstain from helping animals who are victims of natural processes?”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 51-53.

Darwin, C. (2018 [1860]) “Letter to Asa Gray”, Darwin Correspondence Project Darwin.

Dawkins, R. (1995) “God’s utility function”, Scientific American, 274, pp. 80-85.

Donaldson, S. & Kymlicka, W. (2011) Zoopolis: A political theory of animal rights, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dorado, D. (2015) “Ethical interventions in the wild: An annotated bibliography”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 219-238.

Ebert, R & Machan, T. R. (2012) “Innocent threats and the problem of carnivorous animals”, Journal of Applied Philosophy, 29, pp. 146-159.

Everett, J. (2001) “Environmental ethics, animal welfarism, and the problem of predation: A Bambi lover’s respect for nature”, Ethics & the Environment, 6, pp. 42-67.

Faria, C. (2013) “Differential obligations towards others in need”, Astrolabio, 15, pp. 242-246.

———— (2015) “Making a difference on behalf of animals living in the wild: Interview with Jeff McMahan”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 81-84.

———— (2016) Animal ethics goes wild: The problem of wild animal suffering and intervention in nature, Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Faria, C. & Paez, E. (2015) “Animals in need: The problem of wild animal suffering and intervention in nature”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 7-13.

Favre, D. S. (1978-1979) “Wildlife rights: The ever-widening circle”, Environmental Law, 9 (241), pp. 241-281.

Fink, C. K. (2005) “The predation argument”, Between the species, 13 (5).

Garmendia, G. & Woodhall, A. (eds.) (2016) Intervention or protest: Acting for nonhuman animals, Wilmington: Vernon.

Gould, S. J. (1982) “Nonmoral nature”, Natural History, 91 (2), pp. 19-26.

Groff, Z., & Ng, K-W. (2019) “Does Suffering Dominate Enjoyment in the Animal Kingdom”, Biology & Philosophy 34(40) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-019-9692-0

Hadley, J. (2006) “The duty to aid nonhuman animals in dire need”, Journal of Applied Philosophy, 23, pp. 445-451.

Hailwood, S. (2012) “Bewildering Nussbaum: Capability justice and predation”, The Journal of Political Philosophy, 20, pp. 293-313.

Hettinger, N. (1994) “Valuing predation in Rolston’s environmental ethics: Bambi lovers versus tree huggers”, Environmental Ethics, 16, pp. 1-10.

Hills, A. (2010) “Utilitarianism, contractualism and demandingness”, The Philosophical Quarterly, 60, pp. 225-242.

Horta, O. (2010a) “Debunking the idyllic view of natural processes: Population dynamics and suffering in the wild”, Télos, 17 (1), pp. 73-88.

———— (2010b) “Disvalue in nature and intervention”, Pensata Animal, 34.

———— (2010c) “The ethics of the ecology of fear against the nonspeciesist paradigm: A shift in the aims of intervention in nature”, Between the Species, 13 (10), pp. 163-187.

———— (2013) “Zoopolis, intervention, and the state or nature”, Law, Ethics and Philosophy, 1, pp. 113-125.

———— (2015 [2011]) “The problem of evil in nature: Evolutionary bases of the prevalence of disvalue”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 17-32.

———— (2016) “Changing attitudes towards animals in the wild and speciesism”, Animal Sentience, 2016.092.

———— (2017a) “Animal suffering in nature: The case for intervention”, Environmental Ethics, 39, pp. 261-279.

———— (2017b) “Population dynamics meets animal ethics”, in Garmendia, G. & Woodhall, A. (eds.) Ethical and political approaches to nonhuman animal issues: Towards an undivided future, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 365-389.

———— (2018) “Concern for wild animal suffering and environmental ethics: What are the limits of the disagreement?”, Les Ateliers de l’Éthique/The Ethical Forum, 13, pp. 85-100

Hutchins, M. & Wemmer, C. (1986) “Wildlife conservation and animal rights: Are they compatible?”, in Fox, M. W. & Mickley, L. D. (eds.) Advances in animal welfare science, 1986/87, Washington, D. C.: The Humane Society of the United States, pp. 111-137.

Jamieson, D. (1990) “Rights, justice, and duties to provide assistance: A critique of Regan’s theory of rights”, Ethics, 100, pp. 349-362.

Johannsen, K. (2017) “Animal rights and the problem of r-strategists”, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 20, pp. 333-345.

Keulartz, J. (2016) “Should the lion eat straw like the ox? Animal ethics and the predation problem”, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 29, pp. 813-834.

Kirkwood, J. K. & Sainsbury, A. W. (1996) “Ethics of interventions for the welfare of free-living wild animals”, Animal Welfare, 5, pp. 235-243.

Kirkwood, J. K.; Sainsbury, A. W. & Bennett, P. M. (1994) “The welfare of free-living wild animals: Methods of assessment”, Animal Welfare, 3, pp. 257-273.

Knutsson, S. & Munthe, C. (2017) “A virtue of precaution regarding the moral status of animals with uncertain sentience”, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 30, pp. 213-224.

Lauber, T. B.; Knuth, B. A.; Tantillo, J. A. & Curtis, P. D. (2007) “The role of ethical judgments related to wildlife fertility control”, Society & Natural Resources, 20, pp. 119-133.

Mannino, A. (2015) “Humanitarian intervention in nature: Crucial questions and probable answers”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 109-120.

McMahan, J. (2015) “The moral problem of predation”, in Chignell, A.; Cuneo, T. & Halteman, M. (eds.) Philosophy comes to dinner: Arguments on the ethics of eating, London: Routledge.

Milburn, J. (2015) “Rabbits, stoats and the predator problem: Why a strong animal rights position need not call for human intervention to protect prey from predators”, Res Publica, 21, pp. 273-289.

Moen, O. M. (2016) “The ethics of wild animal suffering”, Etikk i Praksis – Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics, 10 (1), pp. 91-104.

Morris, M. C. & Thornhill, R. H. (2006) “Animal liberationist responses to non-anthropogenic animal suffering”, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, 10, pp. 355-379.

Mosquera, J. (2015) “The harm they inflict when values conflict: Why diversity does not matter”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 65-77.

Musschenga, A. W. (2002) “Naturalness: Beyond animal welfare”, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 15, pp. 171-186.

Næss, A. (1991) “Should we try to relieve clear cases of extreme suffering in nature?”, Pan Ecology, 6 (1), 1-5.

Ng, Y.-K. (1995) “Towards welfare biology: Evolutionary economics of animal consciousness and suffering”, Biology and Philosophy, 10, pp. 255-285.

Nussbaum, M. C. (2006) Frontiers of justice: Disability, nationality, species membership, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Paez, E. (2015) “Refusing help and inflicting harm: A critique of the environmentalist view”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 165-178.

Paez, E. (2015) “Intuitions gone astray: between implausibility and speciesism. ‘The predation and procreation problems’: A reply”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 93-99.

Palmer, C. (2013) “What (if anything) do we owe wild animals?”, Between the Species, 16, pp. 15-38.

Pearce, D. (2015 [1995]) The hedonistic imperative, Seattle: Amazon Digital Services.

———— (2015) “A welfare state for elephants? A case study of compassionate stewardship”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 153-164.

———— (2017) Can biotechnology abolish suffering?, Jacksonville: The Neuroethics Foundation.

Raterman, T. (2008) “An environmentalist’s lament on predation”, Environmental Ethics, 30, pp. 417-434.

Rosinger, D. & Singer, P. (1973) “Food for thought”, The New York Review of Books, June 14.

Ryf, P. (2016) Environmental ethics: The case of wild animals, Basel: University of Basel.

Sagoff, M. (1984) “Animal liberation and environmental ethics: Bad marriage, quick divorce”, Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 22, pp. 297-307.

Sapontzis, S. F. (1984) “Predation”, Ethics and Animals, 5, pp. 27-38.

———— (1987) Morals, reason and animals, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Simmons, A. (2009) “Animals, predators, the right to life and the duty to save lives”, Ethics & the Environment, 14, pp. 15-27.

Soryl, A. et al. (2021) “The Case for Welfare Biology”, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics,

Sözmen, B. İ. (2013) “Harm in the wild: Facing non-human suffering in nature”, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 16, pp. 1075-1088.

Tomasik, B. (2015 [2009]) “The importance of wild animal suffering”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 133-152.

Torres, M. (2015) “The case for intervention in nature on behalf of animals: A critical review of the main arguments against intervention”, Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism, 3, pp. 33-49.

Villamor Iglesias, A. (2018) “The overwhelming prevalence of suffering in nature”, Revista de Bioética y Derecho, 42, pp. 181-195.

Vinding, M. (2014) A Copernican revolution in ethics, Los Gatos: Smashwords.

———— (2016) “The speciesism of leaving nature alone, and the theoretical case for wildlife anti-natalism”, Apeiron, 8, pp. 169-183.Groff, Z. & Ng, Y-K. (2019) “Does suffering dominate enjoyment in the animal kingdom? An update to welfare biology”,

Webpages, online pieces and blog posts

Alonso, W. J. & Schuck-Paim, C. (2017) “Life-fates: Meaningful categories to estimate animal suffering in the wild”, Animal Ethics.

Animal Ethics (2016a) “Animals in natural disasters”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016b) “Antagonism in nature”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016c) “Can animals in the wild be harmed in the same ways as domesticated animals and humans?”,Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016d) “Caring for orphaned animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016e) “Diseases in nature”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016f) “Evolutionary reasons why suffering prevails in nature”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016g) “Helping animals in fires and natural disasters”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016h) “Helping animals in the wild”, Wild animal suffering Animal Ethics.

———— (2016i) “Helping hungry and thirsty animals”, Wild animal suffering, Animal Ethics.

———— (2016j) “Malnutrition and thirst in wild animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016k) “Physical injuries in wild animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016l) “Population dynamics and animal suffering”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016m) “Psychological stress in wild animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016n) “Rescuing trapped animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016o) “The situation of animals in the wild”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016p) “Vaccinating and healing injured and sick animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016q) “Weather conditions and nonhuman animals”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

———— (2016r) “Why wild animal suffering matters”, Wild animal suffering Animal Ethics.

———— (2016s) “Working for a future with fewer harms suffered by animals in the wild”, Wild animal sufferingAnimal Ethics.

Bonnardel, Y. (2015 [2005]) “For an end to Nature and a return to ethics and politics”, Tahin Party.

Brennan, O. (2017) “‘Fit and happy’: How do we measure wild-animal suffering?”, Wild Animal Suffering Research.

Davidow, B. (2013) “Why most people don’t care about wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

Faria, C. (2014) “Should we intervene in nature to help animals?”, Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, December 21.

———— (2015) “What (if anything) makes extinction bad?”, Practical Ethics: Ethics in the News, October 5.

Horta, O. (2015) “Why the situation of animals in the wild should concern us”, Animal Charity Evaluators, January 5.

McMahan, J. (2010a) “The meat eaters”, The New York Times, 19 September.

———— (2010b) “Predators: A response”, The New York Times, 28 September.

Olivier, D. (2016) “On the right of predators to life”, David Olivier’s blog, April 30.

Rowe, A. (2017) “An ethic of intervention”, Utility Farm.

Tomasik, B. (2009) “The predominance of wild-animal suffering over happiness: An open problem”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2013a) “Applied welfare biology and why wild-animal advocates should focus on not spreading nature, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2013b) “Crop cultivation and wild animals”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2013c) “Ideas for volunteering to reduce wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2013d) “Intention-based moral reactions distort intuitions about wild animals”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2015a) “Estimating aggregate wild-animal suffering from reproductive age and births per female”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2015b) “How wild-caught fishing affects wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2015c) “Which marine trophic level contains the most total suffering?”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2015d) “Why vegans should care about suffering in nature”, Reasonable Vegan, 12 April.

———— (2016a) “Habitat loss, not preservation, generally reduces wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016b) “How forest fires affect wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016c) “How painful is death from starvation or dehydration?”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016d) “Humanity’s impact on the aggregate metabolism of land wild animals: An analysis of Krausmann et al. (2013)”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016e) “Humanity’s net impact on wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016f) “Is there net suffering in nature? A reply to Michael Plant”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016g) “Net primary productivity by land type”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016h) “Scenarios for very long-term impacts of climate change on wild-animal suffering”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016i) “Will gene drives reduce wild-animal suffering?Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2016j) “Why lower crop yields reduce invertebrate suffering (given certain assumptions)”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2017a) “How does killing animals affect total suffering in a simple, food-limited population?”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2017b) “How eutrophiscation affects freshwater invertebrate populations”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2017c) “How irrigation affects global net primary productivity”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2018 [2008]) “Climate change and wild animals”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

———— (2018 [2016]) “Effects of CO2 and climate change on terrestrial net primary productivity”, Essays on Reducing Suffering.

Torres, R. (2015) “Altruistic murders”, Contragaia.