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Wild animal conservation and welfare in agricultural systems. (Special Issue: Conservation and animal welfare.)

By F. Mathews

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At least one-third of the land on earth is used for agricultural production and conflicts with the interests of wildlife are inevitable. These conflicts are likely to escalate as the human population expands and as the scale and intensity of agricultural production increases. This paper argues that the same underlying causes frequently affect both wild animal welfare and conservation. Three key threats are discussed: disease transmission from domestic animals and the interventions used to manage wildlife reservoirs of zoonotic diseases; physical operations such as harvesting and the conversion of wildlife habitat to farmland; and the use of agrochemicals, particularly for pest control. While direct effects, such as accidental poisoning, tend to attract the most public attention, it is argued that indirect effects, such as the reduction in food supplies or the disruption of social structures, are likely to be of greater importance. The suffering of pest animals has traditionally been undervalued. There is a need for broader adoption of integrated, ecologically based strategies which minimise suffering and also minimise the numbers of animals involved by preventing population resurgence. New research is urgently required to compare the effects of alternative, economically viable farming strategies on both wildlife conservation and welfare, possibly within the framework of ecosystem services assessments.

Date 2010
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 159-170
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address School of Biosciences, Hatherly Laboratories, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal ecology
  4. Animal health and hygiene
  5. Animal rights
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Biological resources
  8. Conservation
  9. Control
  10. Culling
  11. Diseases
  12. Domestic animals
  13. Ecology
  14. Ecosystems
  15. Environment
  16. Farms
  17. Food economics
  18. Food supply
  19. Habitats
  20. Interventions
  21. Mammals
  22. Parasites
  23. peer-reviewed
  24. pest control
  25. Pesticides and Drugs
  26. Poisoning
  27. pollution
  28. populations
  29. Primates
  30. toxicology
  31. transmission
  32. Wild animals
  33. wildlife
  34. Zoology
  35. Zoonoses
  1. peer-reviewed