Should we eradicate carnivores? Change them? End the suffering of wild herbivores? Fire up your imagination and get ready for a crazy ride on a hypothetical train of thought that is sure to get a reaction out of you one way or the other!
The reality of wild animal suffering
Every day, wild animals who do not want to die are ripped apart and eaten while still alive. As technology progresses, we have the opportunity to end this suffering. But should we?
We can accomplish this goal in a number of ways. Very soon the question will soon be not CAN we reduce wildlife suffering, but SHOULD we? There are a number of theories to how this might be accomplished, whether by altering carnivore’s DNA using CRISPR, reducing carnivore populations, or offering alternative food sources. In the past I have suggested that one of the best uses of lab grown meat would be for feeding domesticated cats, and of course we could offer this meat to wild animals as well.
Should we eradicate carnivores?
I’m sure many of you will find this question problematic simply because it implies interfering with nature, or “playing god.”
But the reality is we alter “nature” constantly. Nature is cruel, no question. But we are rapidly approaching an era where we can ameliorate the suffering of a Darwinian world. Or even come close to eliminating it.
Of course, this question might not be relevant for years. By the time it is, we may have been replaced by intelligent robots and won’t even be the species responsible for making these decision. But I think it’s worth contemplating, if only to challenge some of the common conceptions concerning the primacy of nature.
If you’re interested in hearing more about this topic, philosopher David Pearce has been discussing reprogramming predators for many years. His concept of the “hedonic imperative” is well worth consideration, even though it is still mostly theoretical.
If you’re an ethical vegans, you already consider animal rights in a way society as a whole may find strange. So it’s not much of a stretch to ask yourself why wild animal suffering is acceptable.
As I said at the beginning of this piece, when you really get to the heart of the matter, the question is not CAN we address the issue of animal suffering, but SHOULD we. People tend to have very passionate reactions to this issue. I admit that the first time I encountered this questions I was very skeptical about the idea of interfering in the lives of wild animals.
Try being just a bit open to this idea. If you have even the slightest bit of interest in preventing animal suffering, please take a look at the link above. While might remain unconvinced, it will give you some interesting ideas to contemplate, and that’s always nice, isn’t it?