Science and Ethics Agree: Coexistence Must Replace Killing Wolves (Part 2)
March 4, 2022
To put it mildly, the ethical deliberations underlying current wolf (and most wildlife) management are inadequate, with short shrift given to the harms caused to all involved. Contrary to some Indigenous perspectives, Euro-North American federal and state agencies do not engage in the scientific and ethical exploration of who wolves are and how that should inform our relationships with them, despite overwhelming scientific evidence of wolf sentience, self-awareness, and culture among other morally relevant traits. The underlying, unexamined assumption within wildlife management is that any human claims (e.g., to eliminate any nuisance or risk, or to recreation) trump those of wild animals (e.g., to life, freedom from harm, social stability and health). In other words, wolves are treated as a combination of a natural resource (i.e., an object) to use as humans see fit, including as means of recreation, and a nuisance to eliminate, even preemptively. This exposes not only untrustworthy scientific expertise at play within public agencies, but also narrow, inaccurate and inconsistent views that hold an inordinate amount of power over our relationship with wildlife.
Author(s): Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila, PhD, Liv Baker, PhD, Kristin L. Stewart, JD, PhD, and William S. Lynn, PhD