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International Animal Rights ConferenceInternational Animal Rights Conference

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Should we help wild animals?
Catia Faria, Kerstin Voigt

This presentation will be structured around three main questions. (1) Should we help wild animals or would it be better for them if we left them alone? (2) If we should help them, can we succeed at it? And, if so (3) how urgent is it to help them?

Contrary to a widespread idyllic view of nature, wild animals are subject to an enormous variety of natural harms. They are usually injured, starved or dehydrated. They must endure extreme weather conditions and cope with psychological stress. They suffer excruciating deaths at the claws of predators, are harmed or devoured by parasites, debilitated or killed by disease. If their interests matter at all, then, unless we embrace speciesism, it seems that we should help them, whenever we can, such as we do with human beings suffering from natural causes. Yet there are some people who reject this.

Here, we will discuss three of the most common objections to intervention. First, some claim that intervening in nature threatens typically environmentalist values. Second, others worry that it would simply not be feasible. Finally, there are those who believe that even though wild animals need our help, there are other more pressing situations to which we should devote our efforts.

Our presentation will explore both the more theoretical aspects of this debate, as well as a series of case studies of positive interventions in the wild.













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