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Wildlife management and the debate on the ethics of animal use. I. Decisions within a State wildlife agency

Lunney, D. (2012) Wildlife management and the debate on the ethics of animal use. I. Decisions within a State wildlife agency. Pacific Conservation Biology, 18 (1). pp. 5-21.


Some actions necessary to conserve wildlife sit uncomfortably with those who are concerned about the ethics of animal use. The statutory framework for protecting wildlife is outlined, and examples of the range of issues faced in a State wildlife management agency are discussed, including city wildlife, invasive species, hunting, keeping native animals, threatened species recovery and preparing for climate change. To maintain public support, government wildlife managers need to engage with the different views in society of how we should treat animals. Palmer (2010), a philosopher, identified three zones - wild, contact, and dependent - where humans and animals interact, each with a different ethical context and requiring a different response from people. Geography can determine attitude and destiny, particularly when an animal is foreign to a place, such as rabbits and foxes in Australia. The concept of native animals as pests and/or commercially valuable species has a complicated history, with shooting and commercial hunting reflecting the first half of the European history of wildlife management in Australia. No one word defines our optimal relationship to animals, be it minding, looking, liberation, protection or management, and this range of words identifies the scale of the test facing wildlife managers tasked with making decisions about wildlife. Sutherland et al. (2009) identified 100 questions of importance to the conservation of global biological diversity. I would expand this to 101, to encourage the active engagement of wildlife managers and conservation biologists in the debate on the ethics of animal use.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Surrey Beatty & Sons
Copyright: © Surrey Beatty & Sons
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