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Wildlife conservation and animal welfare: two sides of the same coin? (Special Issue: Conservation and animal welfare.)

By P. C. Paquet, C. T. Darimont

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Human activities deprive wild animals of their life requisites by destroying or impoverishing their surroundings, causing suffering of individuals. Yet, the notion that animal welfare applies to wildlife has escaped many animal welfarists and conservationists. A well-accepted and applied ethical foundation for animal conservation that considers animal welfare is lacking. We address this by examining how worldviews of conservationists and animal welfarists are related. The clear conceptual link is that individuals within anthropogenically disturbed populations often endure suffering caused by humans. Accordingly, our objectives are to provide an overview of wildlife conservation, integrate ethical aspects of wildlife conservation and animal welfare, and encourage a 'wildlife welfare' ethic among conservationists. We describe the relationship between contemporary socioeconomic and environmental conditions and the impoverished status of North American wildlife. We then describe the ecological plight of large mammalian carnivores in North America. Finally, as a case study, we focus on the tenuous lives of grey wolves (Canis lupus) living in the midst of human-dominated landscapes. We conclude that the suffering wildlife endures because of humans is a collective responsibility that presents a moral imperative for animal welfarists and conservationists alike. Habitat destruction and impoverishment deprives species of life requisites, causing trauma, prolonged suffering, and eventually death. We suggest that a shared doctrine of animal welfare principles is needed, such as a modified version of the internationally recognised Five Freedoms. In essence, this would be an ethical affirmation for conservationists and animal welfarists.

Date 2010
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 177-190
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Box 150, Meacham, SK S0K 2V0, Canada.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal ecology
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Biological resources
  5. Case Report
  6. Conservation
  7. Diseases
  8. Dogs
  9. Ecology
  10. Economics
  11. Environment
  12. Ethics
  13. Goals
  14. Habitats
  15. Mammals
  16. North America
  17. objectives
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. pollution
  20. Primates
  21. Reviews
  22. Social psychology and social anthropology
  23. socioeconomics
  24. targets
  25. trauma
  26. United States of America
  27. Wild animals
  28. wildlife
  29. Wolves
  30. Zoology
  1. peer-reviewed