Caring about Wild Animals

What are the best ways to encourage concern for wild animals? In particular, how can we help to avoid unintended harm to large numbers of wild animals due to oversight of the magnitude of their suffering, especially through technologies that would spread wild-animal life throughout the cosmos?

Motivation for Encouraging Concern about the Issue

See "Activists Should Focus on Public Outreach" at the end of The Importance of Wild-Animal Suffering. The two main reasons are

  • To encourage our descendants to use technological advancements for the purpose of reducing wild-animal suffering here and elsewhere in the universe, and
  • To ensure that those descendants think carefully before engaging in actions like terraforming, directed panspermia, etc. that would multiply wild-animal suffering.

End game

"Start with the end in mind". What does success here look like?

  • Wild-animal suffering becomes regarded by most people in the same way as AIDS or malaria is now: As a natural harm to be avoided if possible by human charity.
    • Things that increase hunger and malaria are bad; similarly with the suffering of animals in nature.

To what movements is this one similar?

  • Animal rights / welfare
  • Ironically, deep ecology as well (a modern concern that few people used to care about)
  • In vitro meat proponents

Long term: How to get there

Similar to the way other movements have spread.

  • Word of mouth — talking to people
  • Books (a la Animal Liberation by Peter Singer)
  • Scholarly articles and conferences
  • Forum discussions
  • Videos, posters, slogans, pamphlets
  • Organizations

Short term: What to do now

  • Find academic philosophers, environmental ethicists, neuroscientists, and animal-ethics scholars writing on topics related to this. Get them interested in wild-animal suffering and guide them in talking more about it.
    • Find interesting academics. Start with environmental ethics and suggest that wild-animal suffering be considered an important part of that.
      • Look for Environmental Ethics 101 courses: could this be covered as a topic in those?
    • Summarize their papers on the Reducing Suffering blog.
    • Start conversations.
    • Highlight the issue from the perspective of the arbitrariness of Darwinian selection, which is completely indifferent to the pain or happiness it brings to the individuals involved. Use this as a jumping-off point for Dawkins communities, transhumanists, ethics / biology students, etc.


Wild Animal Links

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