Compassionate Conservation and Conservation Welfare are two disciplines whose practitioners advocate consideration of individual wild animals within conservation practice and policy. However, they are not, as is sometimes suggested, the same. Compassionate Conservation and Conservation Welfare are based on different underpinning ethics, which sometimes leads to conflicting views about the kinds of conservation activities and decisions that are acceptable. Key differences between the disciplines appear to relate to their views about which wild animals can experience harms, the kinds of harms they can experience and how we can know about and confidently evidence those harms. Conservation Welfare scientists seek to engage with conservation scientists with the aim of facilitating ongoing incremental improvements in all aspects of conservation, i.e., minimizing harms to animals. In contrast, it is currently unclear how the tenets of Compassionate Conservation can be used to guide decision-making in complex or novel situations. Thus, Conservation Welfare may offer modern conservationists a more palatable approach to integrating evidence-based consideration of individual sentient animals into conservation practice and policy.
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