Compassion as a practical and evolved ethic for conservation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
BioScience, 2015, 65 (3), pp. 323 - 327
Issue Date:
2015-01-01
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© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The ethical position underpinning decisionmaking is an important concern for conservation biologists when setting priorities for interventions. The recent debate on how best to protect nature has centered on contrasting intrinsic and aesthetic values against utilitarian and economic values, driven by an inevitable global rise in conservation conflicts. These discussions have primarily been targeted at species and ecosystems for success, without explicitly expressing concern for the intrinsic value and welfare of individual animals. In part, this is because animal welfare has historically been thought of as an impediment to conservation. However, practical implementations of conservation that provide good welfare outcomes for individuals are no longer conceptually challenging; they have become reality. This reality, included under the auspices of "compassionate conservation," reflects an evolved ethic for sharing space with nature and is a major step forward for conservation.
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