The Ethics of Killing Large Carnivores

Is “bagging a trophy” really an amoral choice?

This is a very interesting article that discusses the very core of issues we discuss on this blog.  I thoroughly recommend that you read it as I think it represents how I feel about wildlife, and more specifically large carnivore, management today.  The proponents of trophy hunting (and I think the North American Wildlife Management Model as well) claim that it is an amoral matter while, as the article points out, it is a moral matter.

In his paper, Environmental ethics and trophy hunting, Dr. Alastair Gunn states that “Nowhere in the (scientific) literature, so far as I am aware, is hunting for fun, for the enjoyment of killing, or for the acquisition of trophies defended.”

This passage is particularly relevant:

Unfortunately, jurisdictions in both Canada and the United States are saddled with a policy framework for wildlife conservation that is carried out within an artificial construct in which ethical considerations simply do not exist and management is driven largely by values, attitudes and deeply held beliefs that are ensconced in the anachronistic North American Wildlife Management Model that dates back to the early 1900’s. This narrow approach is primarily rooted in an agricultural mindset, as opposed to an ecological one.

The Ethics of Killing Large Carnivores.
Chris Genovali – Executive Director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Ethics concerns raised at NV wildlife commission

Killing predators to “conserve” other more “desirable” wildlife has been a consistent topic of conversation on this forum.  It’s ugly enough in it’s own right in my mind – single-species conservation runs into such ethical dilemmas, especially when most wildlife managers don’t see a problem at all.  It appears one wildlife manager in Nevada doesn’t see an ethical problem with much of anything :

Ethics concerns raised at NV wildlife commissionAP

The projects before the Nevada Wildlife Commission seemed simple enough: spending about $160,000 to kill ravens and coyotes to protect sage grouse and mule deer from the predators.

But the situation has since turned into an ugly soap opera, with ethics questions raised over ties between one commissioner’s mother and backers of the predator projects.

Yet, from my perspective, it’s frustrating that a story about “ethics concerns” of a wildlife management agency could miss the mark so fundamentally.  Here we have a wildlife agency slaughtering coyotes & ravens in such a nasty way with public dollars and the ‘ethical question’ is about whether it is wrong that one of the commissioner’s family members might be the one to get the contract for the wildlife slaughter ?