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Wolf Hunting and the Ethics of Predator Control

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Abstract

A basic tool of scholarly ethics is argument analysis—the process of evaluating the soundness of the premises and the validity of arguments that underlie a particular ethical claim. We apply that technique to the controversial concern about the appropriateness of hunting wolves. Advocates of wolf hunting offer a variety of reasons that it is appropriate. We inspect the quality of these reasons using the principles of argument analysis. Our application of this technique indicates that wolf hunting in the coterminous United States is inappropriate. A value of argument analysis for public discourse is its transparency. If we have misapplied the principles of argument analysis, critics will readily be able to identify our error. While this particular application of argument analysis is contingent on details particular to wolves and the desire to hunt them, this essay has the addition value of illustrating one of the basic tools used in scholarly ethics.
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Subject: PoliticalScie nce,Co mparativePolitics, PoliticalTheory
OnlinePublication Date: Jul
2014
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199927142.013.007
WolfHuntingandtheEthicsofPredatorControl
JohnVucetichandMichaelP.Nelson
OxfordHandbooksOnline
AbstractandKeywords
Abasictoolofscholarlyethicsisargumentanalysis—theprocessofevaluatingthesoundnessofthepremisesand
thevalidityofargumentsthatunderlieaparticularethic alclaim.Weapplythattechniquetothecontroversial
conc ernabouttheappropriatenessofhuntingwolves.Advoc atesofwolfhuntingofferavarietyofreasonsthatitis
appropriate.Weinspectthequalityofthesereasonsusingtheprinciplesofargumentanalysis.Ourapplic ationof
thistechniqueindicatesthatwolfhuntinginthecoterminousUnitedStatesisinappropriate.Avalueofargument
analysisforpublicdiscourseisitstransparency.Ifwehavemisappliedtheprinciplesofargumentanalysis,critics
willreadilybeabletoidentifyourerror.Whilethispartic ularapplicationofargumentanalysisiscontingenton
detailsparticulartowolvesandthedesiretohuntthem,thisessayhastheadditionvalueofillustratingoneofthe
basictoolsusedinsc holarlyethics.
Keywor ds:ani malwelfare, con servation, criticalth ink ing,env ironmentalethics,h un tin g,wolves
Introduction
Theethicsofhuntingarecomplicated.Evenardentsupportersofhuntingdisagreeamongthemselves,for
example,overtheappropriatenessofhuntingmethodsthatmaximiz ethepossibilityofacleankill(tominimize
suffering)andtheappropriatenessofmethodsthatemphasizefairchase. Amorebasicethicalconcernis,Under
whatc onditionsishuntingappropriate?Thatquestionrests,inturn,onanevenmorebasicquestion,Whatcounts
asanadequatereasontokillasentientc reature?Somethoughtfulpeoplebelievethathuntingisgenerallywrong
forthesamereasonseatingmeatiswrong.Otherthoughtfulpeoplebelievethathuntingismorallyacceptable,
evenvirtuous,foranyonewhocanreasonablyconcludethateatingmeatismorallyacceptable. These
perspectivesofferasenseoftheissuesconcerningtheethicsofhuntingsuchspec iesasdeerandelkwhenthe
hunter,herfamily,andherfriendswilleattheanimalbeinghunted.
Inthischapter,wefocusonthedesireofsomehumanstohuntavarietyofpredatorswhosefleshhumansdonot
eat—speciessuchasc oyotes,cougars,lynx,tigers,lions,cormorants,seals,andwolves. Theconsiderations
thatariseinaddressingsuchconcernsvarygreatlywithc ontext,andinc ludethepartic ularspeciesofpredatorto
behuntedandthereasonsforwantingtodoso.Assuch,wefocusourassessmentonthedesiretohuntwolvesin
theconterminousUnitedStates.Withoutsuchafocus,anassessmentoftheethic sofhuntingpredatorsislimitedto
generalitiesthatoverlookcriticalspecificitiesthatplayalargeroleinunderstandingtheappropriatenessofhunting
apredator.Nevertheless,fromadetailedandfocusedassessmentsuchasthatofferedhere,onecanreadily
antic ipatetheassessmentofotherspecificcases.
Weapproachthisassessmentfromtheperspectiveofappliedethicsasanac ademicdiscipline.Theaimofapplied
ethicsis,inlargepart,tounderstandthereasonsweoughttobehaveonewayoranother.Aparticularlypowerful
toolforsuchunderstandinginvolvestheanalyzingofethicalarguments.Anethicalargumentisonewhose
conc lusioncanbeexpressedintheformsWeshould…orWeshouldnot….Anethic alargument,likeanykindof
argument,issoundandvalidwhenallitspremisesaretrueorappropriateandwhenitcontainsnomistaken
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inferences. Wethereforedescribeandassessargumentsthatarecommonlyinvokedindiscussionsaboutwolf
hunting.
Wolves
PriortothearrivalofEuropeans,wolveslivedthroughoutmostofwhatisnowthec onterminousUnitedStates.That
populationofwolveslikelycomprisedapproximatelyahalfmillionindividuals. Butbythemid-twentiethcentury,
wolvesintheconterminousUnitedStateshadbeenexterminated,exc eptforafewdozenwholivedinnorthern
Minnesota.Wolveswereexterminatedbecausetoomanyhumanshatedthem.Thishatredwasrelatedtowolves’
killingoflivestockandcompetingwithhumansfordeer,elk,andmoose,anditfueledandwasfueledby
exaggeratedclaimsaboutwolves’capac ityforkillingandfalsebeliefsaboutthethreattheyposetohumans.
Beginningin1973,wolvescameundertheprotectionoftheEndangeredSpeciesAct.By2012,approximately5000
wolvesinhabitedtheconterminousUnitedStates,aremarkableimprovementcomparedtotheirnumbersin1950,
butalsohardlyworthnotingcomparedtotheirnumbersbeforehumansbegantheirattemptedgenocideofwolves.
Today,mostwolvesliveintwopopulations,oneinthewesternGreatLakesarea(northernMinnesota,northern
Wisconsin,andUpperMic higan)andtheotherintheNorthernRockyMountainarea(westernMontana,western
Wyoming,andnorthernIdaho).Butin2012,wolveswerealsoremovedfromthelistofUSendangeredspecies,
exceptfortheMexicanwolfsubspecies(Canislupusbaileyi),representedinthewildbyapopulationoffewerthan
60wolveslivinginthedesertsouthwest.By2013,allsixstateswithestablishedwolfpopulationshadbegunto
allowwolfhunting.Thedelistingandsubsequenthuntingofwolveshasbeencontroversial.
Humanshaveatendency,forbetterorworse,tosymbolizeelementsoftheworldinwhichtheylive.Tosome,
wolvesareasymbolofmuchofwhatweloveaboutnature;whereastootherswolvesareasymbolofour
adversarialrelationshipwithnature.Aspowerfulsymbolsofnature,ourtreatmentofwolvesisacriticalindicatorof
ourrelationshipwiththerestofnature.
CanandOught
Anumberofwolfbiologistsbelieve,withoutqualification,thatwehavethetec hnicalabilitytohuntwolveswithout
compromisingthehealthoftheirpopulationsortheecosystemfunctionstheyprovide.Awolfhuntwithoutthose
negativeimpactsc ouldbeaccomplishedbyhuntingonlyasmallpercentageofthepopulationeac hyear.
Nevertheless,otherqualifiedwolfbiologistsdonotbelievethatwecandothisreliably,andtheycanciteexamples
tosupportthatbelief.
Thegovernmentsoffiveofthesixstatesthatallowwolfhunting(Idaho,Montana,Wyoming,Minnesota,Wisconsin)
havebeguntoimplementhuntingplansthataimforconsiderablereductionsinwolfabundance.Suchreductions
areunlikelytothreatentheshort-termriskofextinctionforthesepopulations.Theyare,however,likelytoimpair
geneticprocessesandtheec osystemfunctionsthatwolvesprovide,andleadtosocialdisruptionsinthewolf
population.Theseeffectsarecertainlydetrimentaltopopulationhealthandecosystemhealth.Whilewehavethe
technicalabilitytoimplementaharvestthatdoesnotcausethoseharms,weappearnottohaveaninteresttodo
so.
Notwithstandingthosecriticalshortcomings,thereisvalueinatleastmomentarilygrantingtheabilityand
willingnesstohuntwolveswithoutharmingwolfpopulationsortheecosystemstheyinhabit.Doingsoraisesavery
basicprincipleinmakingmoraljudgments.Thatis,candoesnotimplyought.Havingtheabilitytodosomethingis
notevidencethatweoughtto.ThisprinciplehasbeenacornerstoneofthinkinginWesternjurisprudenceand
ethicsfor2500years.ThatIcaruspossessedtheabilitytoflytowardthesundidnotmeanthatheshouldhave
doneso,andneithershouldtheBabylonianshavebuiltatowerjustbecausetheycould.
Asecondbasicandrelevantprincipleisthatkillingasentientcreatureisaseriousmatterbecausesentient
creaturesdeserveatleastsomedirectmoralconsideration.Tousesimplerlanguage,itiswrongtokillasentient
creaturewithoutanadequatereason.Thisprincipleissupportedbyrobustrationalconsiderationsthathavebeen
articulatedbyeverysc holarlyandtraditionalperspectiveinenvironmentalethics,includinganimalLiberation,
animalrights, bioc entrism, extendedindividualism, universalconsideration, deepecology and
ecoc entrism. Sociologic alresearchalsosuggeststhatmost(atleastnonsociopathic)humansattributedirect
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moralstandingtosentientcreatures. Thisbeliefisalsoheldbythehuntingcommunityitself,someofwhose
membershaveprovidedconvincingandbeautifulexpressionsabouttheseriousnessofkillingalivingorganism.
Thesetwoprinciples(DonotkillwithoutanadequatereasonandCandoesnotimplyought)leadtothe
conc lusionthatoneshouldrefrainfromwolfhuntinguntiladequatereasonhasbeenprovidedfordoingso.With
thatinescapableburdenofproof,advocatesofwolfhuntinghavemoralobligationstoprovideadequatereasons
fortheirinterestandtorefrainfromwolfhuntingunlessadequatereasonshavebeenprovided.Whilehunting
advocateshavecertainlyofferedreasonstohuntwolves,thequestioniswhich,ifany,areadequatereasons.To
date,noonehasdetailedoranalyzedthemostimportantargumentsforwhyweshouldhuntwolves.
ArgumentAnalysis
Beforeanalyzingtheargumentsforwolfhunting,itwillbevaluabletoreviewthetwobasicstepsofargument
analysis. Thefirstisconvertingareasonintoaformalargument,whichrequiresdiscoveringandstatingallthe
premisesthatwouldhavetobetruefortheargumenttohaveavalidlogicalform.Thesecondisevaluatingthe
truthorappropriatenessofeachpremise.Thissecondstepisimportantbecauseanargumentisunsoundifjust
onepremiseisfalseorinappropriate.Thatanargumentisunsoundorinvalidisnotdefinitiveproofthata
conc lusioniswrong,butitdoesmeanthatthegivenargumentfailstojustifytheconclusion.
Wolves-Kill-UngulatesArgument
Acommonreasonofferedforwhyweshouldallowwolfhuntingisthatwolvesreducetheabundanceofthe
ungulatesthathumansliketohunt. Forthesakeofpedagogy,wetransformthisreasonintoaformalargumentin
severalsteps,withtheintentionofconveyingasenseofthethoughtprocessassociatedwithconvertingareason
intoaformalargument.Thefirststepintransformingthisreasonistoidentifythec onclusion(C)andthekey
premise(s)(P)thatcharacterizethisreason:
P1.Wolvesreduceungulateabundance.
C.Wolvesshouldbehunted.
Theconclusion(C)doesnotlogicallyfollowfrompremiseP1alone.Additionalpremisesarerequired.Inparticular:
P1.Wolvesreduceungulateabundance.
P2.Wolfhuntingreduceswolfabundance.
P3.Reducingwolfabundanceincreasesungulateabundance.
P4.Increasedungulateabundanceleadstoincreasedhuntersuccess.
C.Weshouldbeallowedtohuntwolves.
Premises1through4tracethesequenceofspecificecologic alprocessesthathavetobetrueiftheconclusionis
tobesupported.Whilethesepremisesarenecessary,theyarenotenough.Ethicalarguments(whoseconclusion
canbeexpressedasWeshould…)requiremorethanpremisesthatdescribetheconditionoftheworld.Ethical
argumentsmustcontainatleastonedesc riptivepremise(describinghowtheworldis)andatleastoneethical
premise(prescribingthebasicmoralobligationsthatpertaintotheconclusion).Anethicalargumentwithoutan
ethicalpremiseisassuredlyaninvalidargument.Forthisargument,therelevantethic alpremisesare:
P5.Itiswrongtokillalivingcreaturewithoutanadequatereason.
P6.Increasinghunterreturnsisanadequatereasontokillwolves.
Theargumentislikelystillincomplete.Ifwetakeforgrantedlawsthatrequiremaintainingthepopulationviabilityof
wolvesandabasicconcernforecosystemhealth, thenpremisesP2andP3shouldberevised:
P2.Wolfhuntingreduceswolfabundancewithoutcompromisingthehealthofthewolfpopulationorthe
ecosystemtowhichtheybelong.
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P3.Reducingwolfabundanceincreasesungulateabundancewithoutcompromisingthehealthofthewolf
populationortheecosystemtowhichtheybelong.
Thecompletenessofanargumentisalwaysprovisionalandcontingent.Inprinciple,amissingpremisecouldbe
discoveredatanypointintime.Judginganargumenttobevalid(i.e.,havingnomissingpremises)dependslargely
onthehumanswithaninterestintheissuesurroundingtheargument.
Letussupposethisargumentissufficientlycompleteandthatwecanbeginevaluatingthetruthand
appropriatenessofeachpremise.Sometimesamissingpremiseisdiscoveredduringtheprocessofevaluatingthe
truthofpremises.Butbearinmindthatthec onclusionofanargumentisasreliableasitsweakestpremise.Tobe
“veryconfident”abouttheappropriatenessofaconclusion,wehavetobe“veryconfidentaboutthetruthor
appropriatenessofeachpremise.
Premise1.Askinganecologisthowpredationaffectspreyabundanceisnotunlikeaskingaphysicisthowgravity
works.Predationiscomplicatedandhasbeenafocusofecologists’attentionforacentury.Whilemuchisknown,
muc hremainsunknown.Becauseecologicalphenomena,ingeneral,arethecomplicatedresultofmany
interactingcauses,isolatingtheeffectofasinglecauseinrealecosystemsisnotoriouslydifficult.
Withthoselimitations,thebestavailablescienceindicatesthatP1issometimetrueandsometimesnottrue.
Ecologistsarealsounabletoreliablypredictwhenorunderwhatc ircumstancesP1wouldbetrue. Ecologists
cannotevenalwaysagreeonwhetherwolvescausedanungulatepopulationtodecline,evenafterthedecline
hasocc urredandthecircumstancessurroundingithavebeenwell-documented.
Finally,trendsinungulateabundancesuggestthatP1iswrong.Forexample,ac rosstheNorthernRockies,some
elkpopulationshaveincreasedandothershavedeclined.Thatkindofvariationisnormalandoccursregardlessof
wolves.Notwithstandingthosevariations,elknumbersacrosstheregionappeartohaveincreasedbyabout16
percentduringtheperiod1994–2012,whichiswhenmostoftheincreaseinwolfabundanceocc urred. In
Wisconsin,deerabundancetendedtoincreasethroughoutthepasttwodecades andremainsgreaterthan
targetlevelsestablishedbytheWisconsinDepartmentofNaturalResources,whichmeasuresthedetrimental
impactofdeeroverabundance. InUpperMichigan,deerabundancetendedtodeclineinthefirstdecadeofthe
twenty-firstc entury.However,thattrendappearstobetheresultofapatternthathasexistedforatleastthepast
50years,wherebyeachyear’sdeerabundanceislargelyinfluencedbytheintensityofloggingduringthatyear.
Premise2.Theeffectofhuntingonwolfabundancedependsontherateofhunting(i.e.,proportionofwolves
huntedeac hyear).Lowratesareunlikelytoreduceabundance,andhighratesarelikelytodoso.Theeffectof
intermediateratesonabundanceisveryuncertain. IfreducingabundanceweretheonlyconcernofP2,then
onecouldbereasonablyconfidentaboutthetruthofthatpremisebyrevisingit:“Highratesofhuntingwillreduce
wolfabundance.”
However,theconcernisthatP2requiressatisfyingthreerequirements:reduceabundanceand,atthesametime,
maintainpopulationhealthandmaintainecosystemhealth.Alowrateofhuntingwouldmaintainpopulationhealth
andecosystemhealth,butwouldnotreduceabundance;ahighratewouldreduceabundance,butriskpopulation
healthandecosystemhealth,dependingonhowtheterms“populationhealth”and“ecosystemhealth”are
defined.
Ifpopulationhealthincludessuchelementsassocialstructureanddispersal,thenratesofhuntingthatreduce
abundancewouldlikelyharmpopulationhealth.Ifpopulationhealthentailsonlythelegalrequirementtoavoid
relistingwolvesundertheEndangeredSpeciesAct,thenmoderatelyhighratesofharvestforsomeperiodoftime
areunlikelytoharmpopulationhealth.
Wolvescontributetoecosystemhealthbyaffectingtheabundanceofprey;agestructureofpreypopulations;
evolutionarypressuresonpreypopulations;andbehaviorsofprey,suchaswhen,where,andhowtheyfeedon
vegetation.Themostplausibleassumptionisthatwolvesfulfilltheirecosystemfunctionswhenwolfabundanceis
determinedprimarilybytheabundanceandconditionofprey,andnotbyratesofhuntingbyhumans.
Ultimately,thetruthofP2iscontingentonthemeaningofpopulationviabilityandecosystemhealth.Whilethetruth
ofP2isfarfromcertainforreasonableorwidelyagreedupondefinitionsofpopulationhealthandecosystem
health,P2islikelytruewithrespecttoeachstate’slegalobligationstomaintainpopulationhealthandecosystem
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health.
Premise3.IfP3weresimply,“Reducingwolfabundanceincreasesungulateabundance,”thenP3’struthwould
bedoubtfulforthesamereasonthatP1isdoubtful.FurtherdoubtsarisefromthestipulationinP3thatungulate
abundanceincreaseswithoutharmingecosystemhealth.Maintainingecosystemhealthgenerallyrequiresthat
ungulateabundancebecontrolledbypredation. Insomecases,ungulateabundancec anbelimitedbyhuman
hunting, butoftentherearetoofewhunterstohavethateffect.
Premise4.P4isparticularlyimportantbecauseitspeaksdirectlytotheultimatec oncernofthisargument.Hunter
succ esscanbemeasuredinavarietyofways.Thetwomostimportantmeasuresaretheproportionofsuccessful
huntersandthetotalnumberofsuccessfulhunters.Howeversuccessismeasured,thetruthofP4isdoubtful.For
example,thenumberofsuccessfulelkhuntersandthepercentageofelkhunterswhoweresucc essfulinthe
NorthernRockiesdidnotdeclineduringtheperiod1994–2008,whichisthetimewhenwolfabundanceincreased
themost. Whileitisappropriatetoexpectreductionsinhuntersuccessinthepresenceofawolfpopulation,
thisappearsnottohavebeenthecircumstanc e.
Moregenerally,huntersuccessisaffectedbynotonlyungulateabundancebutalsoungulatebehaviorandthe
skillandbehaviorofhunters.Thepresenceofrelativelyfewwolvesonthelandscapemayresultinbehavioral
changesthataffecthunters’succ ess. Assuch,maintaininghunters’suc cess(orhunters’perceptionsof
succ ess)throughreductionsinwolfabundancecouldeasilyrequirereducingwolfabundancetolevelsthatare
precludedbyfederalpolicy. P4alsoraisesconcernsabouthowhighhuntersuccessoughttobe,andaboutthe
responsibilityhuntershaveforchangingbehaviorsandimprovingtheirskillstomaintaintheirchancesofsuccess.
Weaddresstheseconcernsbelow.
Premises5and6.TheappropriatenessofP5isneitherdoubtfulnorcontroversial(seethesection“Canand
Ought,”above).OneapproachinevaluatingP6istobeginbyrecallingthatalltheecologicalpremises(P1through
P4)aredoubtful.Assuch,huntingwolvesinvolvesincurringanethicalcost(killingwolves)withconsiderableriskof
notrealizingtheintendedoutc omeofthatkilling(increasedhuntersuc cess).Todosoistokillwithoutgoodreason
andtoviolateone’sethicalcommitmenttoP5.
Additionally,onecouldgrantthetruthofP1throughP4andconsidertheappropriatenessofP6directly.Todoso,
suppose,atleastmomentarily,thatthewelfareofahumanismoreimportantthanthewelfareofanon-human
mammal.Andalsorecognizethateatingwildungulatesisavitalneedforwolvesandanon-vitalinterestfor
humanswhohuntungulatesintheconterminousUnitedStates.Giventhoseconsiderations,judgingthe
appropriatenessofP6dependsonjudgingwhetherthevitalneedofanon-humanoutweighsthenon-vitalinterest
ofahuman.Insomecases,thatjudgmentcouldbedifficult.Passingjudgmentinthiscase,however,seems
straightforwardafterthefollowingarerecognized:(1)nooneisaskinghunterstogiveuphunting;theyareonly
beingaskedtoshareungulateswithwolves;and(2)today’swolfpopulationcomprisesonlyapproximately2
percentofthewolvesthatwouldhaveinhabitedtheconterminousUnitedStatesatthetimewhenhumansbegan
theirattemptedgenocideagainstwolves.
Asidefromthoseperspectives,theremightbeoc casionforentertainingspiriteddebateovertheappropriateness
ofP6ifalltheotherpremisesoftheargumentwerecertainlytrue.Butthisisnotthecase.Moreover,becauseP6is
anethicalpremise,notasociologicalpremise,itsappropriatenessdoesnotdependsimplyonmajorityopinion.
Majorityviewsaresometimesindicativeofthatwhichismoral,andothertimesnot.
Whilewolfhuntingisanethicalconcern,itisnominorinsighttorecognizethatthegreatestweaknessesofthis
argumentarenotitsethicalpremisesbutitsscientific premises.Thiscircumstanceislikelymorecommonthanis
generallyappreciatedandiscertainlycharacteristicofotherintereststokillpredators,suchascormorantsand
seals.
TheHunt-’em-to-Conserve-’emArgument
Anotherimportantreasonofferedforallowingwolfhuntingisthathuntingthemwouldpromotewolfconservation.
Theformalargumentassociatedwiththisreasonis:
P1.Wolfconservationrequiresthatac riticalminimumnumberofcitiz enshavepositiveattitudesaboutand
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behaviorstowardwolves.
P2.Wolfhuntingwouldpositivelyaffectattitudesandbehaviorsofmanywhohatewolves.
P3.Weoughttopromotewolfconservation.
C.Therefore,weoughttohuntwolves.
Thisgeneralargumentrepresentstwodistinct,butrelated,arguments.Oneversionisparticulartocitiz ens’
attitudes,andtheotherversionisparticulartobehaviors.Thebehavioralversionoftheargumentis:
P1.Wolfconservationrequiresthatac riticalminimumnumberofcitiz ensbehavefavorablytowardwolves,
especiallybynotkillingthem.
P2.Toallowwolfhuntingwouldpreventanotherwiseinevitablepublicbacklashagainstwolvesthatwould
resultinhigherratesofpoachingandlossofpoliticalsupportthatwouldthreatentheviabilityofwolf
populations.
P3.Weoughttopromotewolfconservation.
P4.Itiswrongtokillalivingcreaturewithoutanadequatereason.
P5.Conservingwolfpopulationsisanadequatereasontokillindividualwolves.
C.Therefore,weoughttoallowwolfhunting.
Inthisbehavioralargument,P1,P3,andP4areappropriateanduncontroversial.Moreover,poachingisa
potentiallyseriousconc ernandshouldbeguardedagainst,butthereisnoevidencetosuggestthatpoachinghas
preventedwolfpopulationsfromexpandinginthewesternGreatLakesorNorthernRockies.Ifpoachingwerenot
anactualthreat,thentheneedforhunting,assupposedbythisargument,wouldseemabsent.
Moreover,thebestavailablesciencesuggeststhatprovisionsforkillingwolvesdonottendtopromotetolerance
forwolves.Inpartic ular,arecentreviewfoundnoevidencefortheclaimthatallowinghigherquotasoflegal
harvestresultedinreducedratesofpoaching. Also,attitudestendedtobemorenegativeduringaperiodoftime
whenlegallethalcontrolhadbeenallowedthanwhenwolveshadbeenfullyprotected. Moreover,preliminary
resultsfromastudycommissionedbytheUSFishandWildlifeServicefailstosupportthiscontention. Deep-
rootedsocialidentityislikelythemostimportantdeterminantofattitudesaboutwolves, notallowancesforkilling
them.
Inadditiontothoseempiricalproblems,thisargumentisalsoethicallydeficient.Poachingisawrong,notonly
becauseofitspotentialtothreatenpopulationviability,butalsobecauseitcanbeawrongagainsttheindividual
whowaskilled.Manyinstancesofwolfpoac hing,inparticular,arewrongbecausetheyareprimarilymotivatedby
ahatredofwolves.Theseinstancesofpoachingqualifyaswrongfuldeaths,ifnothatecrimes.Tolegalizesuch
killingdoesnotmakethemanylesswrong.Moreover,peoplewhothreatentopoachwolvesunlesswolfkillingis
legalized areengaginginakindofecologicalblackmailbythreateningharmagainstindividualorganismsand
ecosystemsunlesstheirdemandstokillaremet.Peoplewhoadvocateforthisargument,evenwithoutaninterest
inkillingwolvesthemselves,unwittinglyabetthisblackmail.Ifpoachingiswrongbecauseitrepresentsan
adequatereasontokill,thenitisnotmaderightsimplybylegalizingthekillingofwolves.Thatwouldbeanalogous
tosolvingtheproblemofillegalpaymentsforsexbylegalizingprostitution.
Theattitudinalversionofthehunt-’em-to-conserve-’emargumentis:
P1.Wolfconservationrequiresacritic almassofpeoplewhorespectwolves.
P2.Thereisariskoflosingthatcriticalmass.
P3.Manypeoplewhodonotrespectwolvesdesiretohuntthem.
P4.Huntingananimalgeneratesrespectforthatanimal.
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C1.Allowingpeopletohuntwolvesisnecessaryforwolfconservation.
P5.Weoughttopromotewolfconservation.
P6.Itiswrongtokillalivingcreaturewithoutanadequatereason.
P7.Conservingwolfpopulationsisanadequatereasontokillindividualwolves.
C2.Weoughttoallowwolfhunting.
Inthisargument,C1isaconclusionrisingfromP1throughP4.C1thenservesasthefirstpremiseinanargument
thatalsoincludesP5,P6,P7,andC2.
P4isaperversemisinterpretationoftherelationshipbetweenrespectandhunting.Huntingreinforcesordeepens
respectforthedeerbecausethehunterknowsthedeersac rificedhislifeforthesustenanceofthehunter.Inthis
relationship,respectexistsbeforethehunting;thehuntingdidnotgeneraterespectexnihilo.Inotherwords,the
hunterrespectsthedeerinspiteofkillinghim,notbecauseshekilledhim.Thewolf-hater’saprioriattitude,by
contrast,ishatred,notrespect.Herkillingthewolfisthusanexerciseofhatred—shewouldlikelycelebratethe
killing.Withoutmoralconcernforthewolf,thewolf’ssacrificecannotberecognized.Forhunters,recognitionof
sacrificeisnecessaryfortherealizationofrespect.Moreover,therehavebeenepisodesinconservationhistory
duringwhic hhunting(orfishing)wasimportantforpromotingconservationinvolvedspeciesofwaterfowl,white-
taileddeer,wildturkeys,sandhillcranes,andbrooktroutwhowererespected,nothated.
Forahater,P4couldpossiblybetrueinrareandparticularcircumstances.Thatis,hatredissometimesdissolved
whenthehaterbecomesfamiliarwithhisvictim,andhuntingprovidesanopportunitytobecomefamiliarwiththe
victim.However,ifP4werecommonlytrue,killingwouldbeacommonlyprescribedtherapyforunjustifiedhatred.It
isnot.Finally,sociologicalevidencealsosuggeststhatP4isfalse.
Anotherconc ernwiththisargumentisthatthetruthofP2isimpossibletoevaluate.Nooneknowshowmany
peoplerepresentacriticalmassorhowthecriticalmassisaffectedbytheintensityofhatredamongwolfhaters.
Nevertheless,c oncernforthetruthofP2cannotbecompletelydismissed.Forexample,theproportionofpeople
reportingnegativeattitudesaboutwolveshasincreasedinatleastonearea. However,attitudesarea
notoriouslypoorpredictorofhowpeoplewillbehave,especiallywhenthebehaviorinquestion,thatis,poaching
requiresnontrivialeffortandisaccompaniedbytheriskofconsiderablepunishment.
ThereisalsoreasontothinkthatthetruthofP2isunlikely.Inparticular,ifintoleranceisjudgedbytheactof
poaching,ratherthanbyattitudesthatareverballyexpressedinsurveys, thentherearereasonstobelieve
intolerancewilldecline.Thisintoleranceiscausedbytheriskthatsomeperceiveinwolves.Considerable
evidencesuggeststhatperceivedrisktendstodeclineashumansbecomeincreasinglyfamiliarwiththesourceof
theperceivedrisk. Also,wolfintoleranceislikelynotdistinctfromotherirrationalintolerances(suc hasracismor
sexism).Thatis,nooneexpectsindividualwolfhaterstoc hangetheirattitudes.Instead,overtimetheirbehaviors
becomelesstolerated,andtheirattitudesbecomelesscommonasthepeopleholdingthempassaway.To
paraphraseMartinLutherKing,thelongarcofhistorybendstowardjustice.Thestrengthofthisargumentmightbe
difficulttoevaluateifP2weretheonlyweakness.Itisnot.P2onlyaddstotheargument’sweakness.
Finally,P7isworthhighlighting.Itstruthshouldnotbetakenforgranted.Thispremiserepresentsaninc reasingly
importantandunresolvedconflictbetweentwoofthegreatestethicaldevelopmentsofthetwentiethcentury,
conservationethic sandanimalwelfareethics.Someardentadvocatesofwolfhuntingtendtobehostiletojustified
conc ernsforanimalwelfare. Othersadvocatesofwolfhuntingaresensitivetothevalueofconservation.The
conservationtraditionanditsprofessiontendsnottobeverysensitivetooradeptathandlingthisconflict.
FeelingcomfortablewiththisargumentwouldrequirethatsomeoneexplaintheappropriatenessofP7.That
explanationhasnotyetbeenmade.
TheRecreationandTraditionArgument
Anotherimportantreasonofferedforwhywolfhuntingshouldbeallowedis:
P1.Wolfhuntingisvaluableasatraditionandformofrecreation.
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P2.Wolfhuntingcanbemanagedwithoutthreateningpopulationviabilityorecosystemhealth.
P3.Itiswrongtokillalivingcreaturewithoutanadequatereason.
P4.Traditionandrecreationareadequatereasonstohuntwolves.
C.Weoughttoallowwolfhunting.
Ifthehonorabletraditionofhuntingisdifferentfromattemptedgenocide,thenwolfhuntingisnotatraditioninthe
conterminousUnitedStates.Noonealivetodayhaseverspokentoapersonwhohashuntedawolfinthe
conterminousUnitedStates,exceptaspartofanearlysuccessfulprogramtoexterminatewolves.Evenifwolf
huntingwereatradition,soalsowereslavery,childlabor,anddenyingwomentherighttovote.Defendingthe
moralityofabehaviorongroundsthatitistraditionissowidelyknowntobefallaciousthatlogicianshave
memorializedthisparticularkindoflogicalfallacybynamingitargumentumadantiquitatem.
Ifwolfhuntingisnottraditional,coulditbeanacceptableformofrecreation?Rec reationhasacommonmeaning
(i.e.,“refreshmentofone’smindorbodyafterworkthroughactivitythatamusesorstimulates” )andadeeper
meaningreflectedbytheetymologyoftheword(re-create).There-creativevalueofdeerhuntingdoesnotliein
killingthedeer.Itsre-creativevalueliesinthehunter’sappreciationofthesacrificethedeermadesothatthe
huntercouldsustainhimorherself.Whensustenanceisnotthecentralreasonforhunting,itsdistinctivevalueis
simplyanactofkilling,orworse,anopportunitytomanifesthatred. Toconsidersuchanactivityrec reationis
grotesque.
ArelatedversionofthisargumentwouldreplaceP1with:
P1.Wolfhuntingisvaluablebecausethewolfpeltthatcomeswithkillingawolfhasvalueasatrophyoran
economiccommodity.
Atrophyisakindofprize,memento,orsymbolofsomekindofsucc ess.Tokillasentientcreatureforthepurpose
ofusingitsbodyorpartofitasatrophyisessentiallykillingforfunorasacelebrationofviolence.And,although
therewasonceatimewhentrappingwolvesfortheirpeltsmighthavebeenarespectablemeansofmakingaliving
becausewolfpeltswerethenareasonablewaytomakewarmclothing,wenolongerliveinthattime.
OtherArgumentsforWolfHunting
Somearguethatweshouldallowwolfhuntingbecausereducingthewolfpopulationwillreducethethreattohuman
safety.Argumentstothiseffectdependonapremiselike“wolvesthreatenhumansafety.”Thesearguments
crumblebecausesuchpremisesarealmostuniversallyfalse.Manywhodonotlikewolvesgrosslyexaggeratethe
threatthatwolvesrepresenttohumansafety.Intheveryrareinstanceswhenhumansafetyisthreatened,that
problemneedstobedealtwithimmediately,thoroughly,andprecisely.Wolfhuntinghasnoneofthoseproperties.
Forexample,ifaparticularwolfthreatenshumansafetyinsay,July,theproblemcannotwaituntiltheupcoming
huntingseasoninthehopethatsomehunterwillhavethe“goodfortune”tokilltheoffendingwolf.The
inappropriatenessoftheargumentunderlyingthisreasonhasbeendiscussedindetailelsewhere.
Someassertthatweshouldallowwolfhuntingbecausereducingthewolfpopulationwillreducethethreatthat
wolvesposetolivestock.Thechallengesofraisinglivestockshouldbeofconcerntoanyonewhoeatsmeat.
Nevertheless,severalconsiderationssuggestthatprotectionoflivestockisapoorreasontohuntwolves.First,the
lossoflivestocktowolvesisabsolutelytrivialfromanindustry-wideperspective. Wherelossesoc cur,non-lethal
methodsarefeasibleandinmanyc aseseffectiveinreducingoreliminatinglivestocklosses. Fromthe
perspectiveofanindividualowner,livestocklossesandthec ostofnon-lethalcontrolcanbenon-trivial.
Nevertheless,asawealthynation,wearemorethancapableofmeetingthosecostsinafairmanner.Finally,the
preventionoflivestocklossesrequiresaddressingtheparticularwolfassociatedwiththeproblemandaddressing
thatwolfattheparticularlocationandtimeofthoseproblems.Ageneralrecreationalhuntisnotanappropriatetool
fordealingwithsuchaspecificproblemandcouldevenexacerbateit. Therearesensiblewaystodealwith
livestocklosses,butwolfhuntingisnotoneofthem.
Finally,someassertthatweshouldallowwolfhuntingbecausehuntingthemisnecessarytopreventwolvesfrom
growing“outofcontrol.”“Outofcontrolissometimesaeuphemismfortheideathatwolvescancreate
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challengesforsomehumanswholiveinareasalsoinhabitedbywolves(e.g.,killinglivestock).“Outofcontrol”is
alsosometimesaeuphemismforanobsessionwith“c ontrolling”nature,nottoachieveanyotherobjective,butas
anendinitself.Thatobsessionrepresentsapathologicalrelationshipwithnature;itliesatthecoreofmany
conservationproblems,anditshouldberesisted. Satisfyingthatobsessionincursanethicalcostinadditionto
theethic alcostofkillingasentientcreature.
Eachofthesethreereasonsforhuntingwolvesdeservemoreattentionthanweareabletoprovidehere.There
wouldbevalueinbuildingandanalyz ingtheargumentsassociatedwitheac hreason.Whilespacelimitations
precludeourprovidingsuchatreatmenthere,wehaveneverthelesscontributedthebasicelementsthatwouldgo
intobuildingthosearguments.
Co nclusion
Thedetailsassociatedwithkillingpredatorsvaryconsiderablywiththespeciesofpredator,reasonsforwantingto
kill,andsociologicalandecologicalcontextssurroundinganyparticularinteresttokill.Theanalysispresented
hererequiredcarefulattentiontothosedetailsastheypertaintohuntingwolvesintheconterminousUnitedStates.
Despitetheimportanceofdetails,thebasicthemesassociatedwithhuntinganypredatorwouldbesimilartothose
presentedhere.
Becausewolves(andotherpredators)arelivingcreatures,themoralityofkillingwolves(andotherpredators)
dependsonbeingabletoprovideagoodreasontodoso.Theanalysespresentedhereandelsewhere suggest
thatgoodreasonshavenotbeenoffered.Theresultsofargumentanalyses,areliketheresultsthatemergefrom
thescientificprocess;theyareneverdefinitive.Theyarealwaysprovisionalinthesensethatitmaybe
conc eivablethatsomeone,atsometimeinthefuture,willprovideagoodreasontohuntwolves.Untilthattime,
however,onewouldbelogic allyboundtotheconclusionthatwolfhuntingintheconterminousUnitedStatesis
wrong.
Thisconclusionmayraisethequestion,Whogetstojudgewhatcountsasagoodreason?Thatquestionis
misplaced.Inafreesociety,everycitizenisfreetojudgewhatcountsasagoodreason.Thecriticalquestionis
not,whogetstojudge,butrather,Bywhatrulesandstandardsisoneobligatedinjudgingwhatcountsasagood
reason?Theruleandstandardisthatreasoningbesoundandvalid;thatis,aconclusionmustbesupportedbyan
argumentwithnomistakenpremisesormissingpremises(i.e.,withoutgapsinlogic ).
Thisstandardemergesdirectlyfrombasicprinciplesofjustice.Justiceiswidelyunderstoodtodependonanidea
thatcanbeexpressedasathoughtexperimentwherebythemembersofasocietyarerequiredtoagreeonthe
principlesofgovernanceandsocialinteractionsbeforeanyoneknowstheirpositioninsociety(i.e.,theirwealth,
abilities,aesthetic preferences,etc.). Oneoftherequiredprinciplestoemergefromsuchaprocesswould
certainlybethatsocialdecision-makingshouldbebasedonsoundandvalidreasoning.
Soundandvalidreasoningisnotasilverbullet.Argumentanalysiscanbemanipulatedbythosemoreconc erned
withwinningpoliticaldisputesthanunderstandingwhatisgoodorright.Somepremisesaredifficulttodiscover,
andothersaredifficulttoevaluate.Soundandvalidreasoningdoesnotcompletelyclearallthefogassociatedwith
judgingtheappropriatenessofnormativepremises.Anumberofcontroversiesaregenuinelyperniciousandnot
easilysolved(though,asweshowhere,huntingwolvesisnotoneofthem).Consequently,argumentanalysisis
notsufficient,butitisanabsolutelynecessaryfeatureofajustdemocracy.
Somemayreactwithconcern,thinkingthatmajorityofcitiz ensarenotcapableengaginginargumentanalysis.
Almostcertainly,thisistrue.Nevertheless,oneshouldatleastexpectgovernmenttechnocratsworkingonsuch
problemsintheinterestsofcitiz enstohavethiscapacity.Sadly,alargeportionofthesetechnocratsdoesnot
possessthiscapacity.Whatexactlyisthecapacityofwhichwespeak?Inthisanalysis,wehaveonlyapplied
somebasicfacts tosomebasicprinciplescoveredineverycritical-thinkingtextbookthathaseverbeen
published. Anyonegraduatingwithabachelor’sdegreeshouldbeexpectedtohavearudimentarycapacityfor
soundandvalidreasoning.However,thenatureofthepublicdiscourseaboutwolfhunting,predatorcontrol,and
dozensofothercontroversialissuesclearlyindicatesthatwedonothavethiscapac ity.Thisincapacitymaybe
thegreatestfailureofuniversityprofessorsandadministrators.
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Althoughacitiz enrycanbecomecapableofsoundandvalidreasoningatarudimentarylevel,thiskindof
reasoningisneverthelessgenuinelychallenging.Consequently,mostofusarecontentwithourintuitionsabout
whatisrightandwrongformanyparticularcases,andweliveaccordingtosuchintuitions.Intuitivemoral
reasoningisfineandnormal,solongasonebearsinmindthatone’sconfidenceaboutsuchintuitionsasthey
applytoc omplicatedissuesshouldcorrespondtothedegreetowhichonehasstudiedthatjudgmentwiththe
rigorsofsoundandvalidreasoning.
FurtherReading
Foranaccessibleoverviewoftheimportanceoftopcarnivorestoec osystemhealth,CristinaEisenberg,The
Wolf’sTooth:KeystonePredators,TrophicCascades,andBiodiversity(Washington,DC:IslandPress,2011).For
anoverviewofwolfecology,L.D.MechandL.Boitani,(eds.),Wolves:Behavior,Ecology,andConservation
(Chicago:UniversityofChicagoPress,2007).
ForanoverviewofwolfconservationintheUnitedStates,MartinA.Nie,BeyondWolves:ThePoliticsofWolf
RecoveryandManagement(Minneapolis:UniversityofMinnesotaPress,2003).
Forabroadandacc essibleoverviewofargumentanalysis,PegTittle,CriticalThinking:AnAppealtoReason(New
York: Routledge,2011).Foranoverviewofbasicthemesinenvironmentalethics,PaulPojmanandLouisPojman,
(eds),EnvironmentalEthics:ReadingsinTheoryandApplication(Andover,MA:CengageLearning,2011).
Notes:
( )Theconflictbetweenthosetwoprinciples,forexample,underliesconcernsabouttheappropriatenessofbow
huntingandhuntingoverbaitpiles.
( )Reasonsforbeingvegetarianorveganarevaried.Moreover,apersonmightconcludethateatingmeatis
appropriateinsomecircumstancesbutnotothers.Forexample,apersonmightthinkeatingmeatiswrongin
generalbutacceptableforNativeAlaskanInuits,whosewelfarewouldseemtodependoneatinganimalflesh.
Whilethatkindofcomplexityisimportant,itdoesnotobviatethecentralpoint,whichisademandtoconfrontthe
question,Whatcountsasanadequatereasontokillasentientcreature?Thehuntingcommunityhaslong
recognizedthevalueofthisquestionforunderstandingtheconditionsunderwhichvariouskindsofhuntingis
appropriate.SeealsoTovarCerulli,TheMindfulCarnivore:AVegetarian’sHuntforSustenance(NewYork:
Pegasus,2012);LilyR.Mc Caulou,CalloftheMild:LearningtoHuntMyOwnDinner(NewYork:GrandCentral
Publishing,2012).
( )Foramoredetailedaccountsoftheseissues,seeDavidPeterson,(ed.),AHunter’sHeart:HonestEssayson
BloodSport(NewYork:Holt,1997);JimPosewitz ,BeyondFairChase:TheEthicsandTraditionofHunting(Helena,
MT:Falcon,2002);JoseOrtegayGassett,MeditationsonHunting(Belgrade,MT:WildernessAdventuresPress,
2007);NathanKowalsky,Hunting—PhilosophyforEveryone:InSearchoftheWildLife.(Oxford,UK:Wiley-
Blackwell,2010);AllenJones,AQuietPlaceofViolence:HuntingandEthicsintheMissouriRiverBreaks
(Bozeman,MT:Bangtail,2012).
( )“Hunting”isnotthebesttermtodescribetherelationshipbetweenhumansandsomeofthesecreatures.For
example,therelationshipwithsealsintheNorthAtlanticisbetterdescribedas“predatorcontrol,”becausethe
primarypurposeofkillingsealsistoreducetheirabundanceinordertoincreasetheabundanceoftheirprey,
whicharefishthathumansharvest.Therelationshipwithwolvesinthec onterminousUnitedStatesbetween1850
and1950mightbebestdescribedas“attemptedgenocide,”sincethegoalhadbeencompleteextermination.
Moreover,inmanycases,predatorsarekilledbytrapping,ratherthanbyshooting.Whiletheabove-mentioned
distinctionsarecriticallyimportant,ourmaininterestisinthebasicquestion,Whatcountsasagoodreasontokilla
sentientcreature?So,despiteitsshortcomings,weusetheterm“hunting”torefertoalloftheserelationships.
( )IrvingM.Copi,CarlCohen,andKennethMcMahon,IntroductiontoLogic,14thedition(NewYork:Pearson,
2010).
( )J.A.Leonard,C.Vila,andR.K.Wayne,“LegacyLost:GeneticVariabilityandPopulationSizeofExtirpatedUS
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GreyWolves(CanisLupus),”MolecularEcology14(2005): 9–17.
( )PeterSinger,AnimalLiberation,2ndedition,ModernClassics(NewYork:HarperPerennial,1990).
( )TomRegan,TheCaseforAnimalRights(Berkeley:UniversityofCaliforniaPress,1983).
( )P.W.Taylor,RespectforNature:ATheoryofEnvironmentalEthics(Princeton,NJ: PrincetonUniversityPress,
1986).
( )Lawrence.EJohnson,AMorallyDeepWorld:AnEssayonMoralSignificanceandEnvironmentalEthics
(Cambridge,MA:CambridgeUniversityPress,1991).
( )T.H.Birch,“MoralConsiderabilityandUniversalConsideration,”EnvironmentalEthics15(1993):313–332.
( )ArneNaess,Ecology,CommunityandLifestyle(Cambridge,MA:CambridgeUniversityPress,1989).
( )J.BairdCallicott,InDefenseoftheLandEthic:EssaysinEnvironmentalPhilosophy(Albany:StateUniversity
ofNewYorkPress,1989);J.BairdCallicott,BeyondtheLandEthic:MoreEssaysinEnvironmentalPhilosophy
(Albany:StateUniversityofNewYorkPress,1999);HolmesRolston,ConservingNaturalValue(NewYork:
ColumbiaUniversityPress,1994).
( )Forexample,S.Kellert,“TheBiologicalBasisforHumanValuesofNature,”inTheBiophiliaHypothesis,ed.S.
R.KellertandE.O.Wilson(Washington,DC:IslandPress,1993),42–69;R.E.Manning,“SocialClimateChange:A
SociologyofEnvironmentalPhilosophy,”inReconstructingConservation:FindingCommonGround,ed.B.A.
MinteerandR.E.Manning(Washington,DC:IslandPress,2003),207–222.
( )Forexample,PaulShepard,TheTenderCarnivoreandtheSacredGame(NewYork:Scribners,1973);David
Peterson,(ed.),AHunter’sHeart:HonestEssaysonBloodSport(NewYork:Holt,1997);Gassett,Meditationson
Hunting.
( )JohnA.VucetichandMichaelP.Nelson,AHandbookofConservationandSustainabilityEthics.CEG
OccasionalPaperSeries,issue1,2012,www.conservationethics.org(accessedJuly15,2013).Thisdocumentalso
providesanaccessibleoverviewoftheapplicationofargumentanalysistoconservation.SeealsoMic haelP.
NelsonandJohnVucetich,“EnvironmentalEthicsforWildlifeManagement,”inHumanDimensionsofWildlife
Management,ed.,D.J.Decker,ShawnJ.Riley,WilliamSiemeretal.(Baltimore,MD:JohnsHopkinsUniversityPress,
2012),223–237.
( )“Ungulate”isageneraltermthatincludesspecieslikedeer,elk,moose,caribou,andbison.
( )Insomecases,aconcernmaybethatalaworpolicyisunjustandimmoral.Ifso,thenitwouldbe
inappropriatetotakesuchlawsorpoliciesforgranted.Instead,theremaybeaneedtodevelopanargumentto
assesswhetherthelaworpolicyisappropriate.Whethersuchissuesshouldbetakenforgrantedordemonstrated
dependslargelyonthejudgmentofthehumanswithaninterestintheissuesurroundingtheargument.
( )Forexample,C.C.Wilmers,E.Post,R.O.Petersonetal.,“PredatorDiseaseOut-breakModulatesTop-down,
Bottom-upandClimatic EffectsonHerbivorePopulationDynamics,”EcologyLetters9(2006):383–389.
( )OswaldJ.Schmitz,ResolvingEcosystemComplexity(Princeton,NJ:Princ etonUniversityPress,2010).
( )CompareJ.A.Vucetich,D.W.Smith,andD.R.Stahler,“InfluenceofHarvest,ClimateandWolfPredationon
YellowstoneElk,1961–2004,”Oikos111(2005):259–270,withP.J.WhiteandR.A.Garrott,“Yellowstone’s
UngulatesafterWolves:Expectations,Realiz ations,andPredictions,”BiologicalConservation125(2005):141
152,andR.Garrott,P.J.White,andJ.Rotella,“TheMadisonHeadwatersElkHerd:TransitioningfromBottomUp
RegulationtoTopDownLimitation,”inTheEcologyofLargeMammalsinCentralYellowstone,ed.RGarrott,P.J.
White,andF.G.R.Watson(SanDiego,CA:Elsevier,2009),489–517.
( )Anonymous,“WolvesbytheNumbers,”Bugle,Sept./Oct.2009,p.84,
http://switc hboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mskoglund/elk%20numbers.pdf(acc essedJuly7,2013).
( )1990–2012,theperiodoftimewhenwolfabundanceincreasedfromapproximately30wolvesto
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approximately800wolves.
( )DeerPopulationGoals,WisconsinDepartmentofNaturalResources,2013,
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/popgoal.html(accessedJuly15,2013).
( )R.Doepker,MichiganDepartmentofNaturalResources,unpublisheddata.Aftertreesareloggedand
removed,thetreetopsareleftbehindontheforestfloor.Thetwigsonthosetreetopsareanimportantsourceof
winterfood.Between1957and2005,thenumberofcordsofpulpwoodharvestedinUpperMichiganexplained67
percentofthevariationinanindexofdeerabundance(i.e.,themeandensityofpelletgroups[fecalmaterial]
countedontransectsacrossUpperMichigan).
( )JohnA.Vucetich,“TheInfluenceofAnthropogenicMortalityonWolfPopulationDynamicswithSpecial
ReferencetoCreelAndRotella(2010)andGudeetal.(2011),”in“FinalPeerReviewofFourDocumentsAmending
andClarifyingtheWyomingGrayWolfManagementPlan,”UnitedStatesFishandWildlifeService,2012,pp.78–95,
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-
prairie/species/mammals/wolf/WY_Wolf_Peer_Review_of_Revised_Statutes_and_Plan_Addendumt2012_0508.pdf
(acc essedJuly15,2013).http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/
( )Eachstategovernmentislegallyrequired,underpoliciessetinacc ordancewiththeUSEndangeredSpecies
Act(1973),tomaintainaminimumnumberofwolves.Forexample,Wisconsinhasapproximately800wolvesbut
maybelegallyobligatedtohaveonlyontheorderof100wolves.ThestateofWisconsinhasforsometimesaid
thatitwillaimtohave350wolves.“WisconsinWolfManagementPlan,”WisconsinDepartmentofNatural
Resources.,1999,http://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/ER/ER0099.pdf)(ac cessedJuly15,2013).
( )See,forexample,B.Miller,B.Dugelby,D.Foremanetal.,“TheImportanceofLargeCarnivorestoHealthy
Ecosystems,EndangeredSpeciesUPDATE18(2001):202–210;R.L.BeschtaandW.J.Ripple,“LargePredators
andTrophicCascadesinTerrestrialEcosystemsoftheWesternUnitedStates,”BiologicalConservation142
(2009):2401–2414;J.A.Estes,J.Terborgh,J.S.Brasharesetal.,“TrophicDowngradingofPlanetEarth,”Science
333(2011):301–306.
( )J.Vucetich,D.W.Smith,andD.R.Stahler,“InfluenceofHarvest,Climate,andWolfPredationonYellowstone
Elk,1961–2004,”Oikos111(2005):259–270.
( )B.G.GilesandC.S.Findlay,“Effec tivenessofaSelectiveHarvestSysteminRegulatingDeerPopulationsin
Ontario,”JournalOfWildlifeManagement68(2004):266–277.
( )Anonymous,“WolvesbytheNumbers,”.Bugle,Sept/Oct.2009,p.83,
http://switc hboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mskoglund/elk%20numbers.pdf(acc essedJuly7,2013).SeealsoStevenHazen,
“TheImpactofWolvesonElkHuntinginMontana”(MSthesis,MontanaStateUniversity,2012).
( )E.B.Nilsen,T.Pettersen,H.Gundersenetal.,“MooseHarvestingStrategies,”in“ThePresenceofWolves,”
JournalofAppliedEcology42(2005):389–399.
( )J.A.Winnie,“PredationRisk,Elk,andAspen:TestsofaBehaviorallyMediatedTrophicCascadeintheGreater
YellowstoneEcosystem,”Ecology93(2012):2600–2614.
( )Failuretorecognizetheseprinc iplesisaparticularlyweakaspectoftherationaleforhuntingwolvesasstated
inVucetic h,“InfluenceofAnthropogenicMortality,’2012.
( )Thiscircumstance(i.e.,killingwithlittleornochanceofrealizingtheintendedoutcomeofthatkilling)
characterizesmanyeffortstorestoreecosystemsthathavebeenaffectedbyexoticandinvasivespecies;see,for
example,J.H.Myers,D.Simberloff,A.M.Kurisetal.,“EradicationRevisited:DealingwithExotic Species,”Trends
inEcology&Evolution15(2000):316–320;J.VucetichandM.P.Nelson,“WhatAre60WarblersWorth?Killingin
theNameofConservation,”Oikos116(2007):1267–1278;D.K.Rosenberg,D.G.Vesely,andJ.A.Gervais,
“MaximizingEndangeredSpeciesResearch,”Science337(2012):799.
( )Whenthemajoritydonotbelievewhatcanreasonablybeshowntobeethic al,thereisaproblem.Butthat
problemisnotsomuchanethicalproblem(inthesenseofnotknowinghowweoughttobehave)butisinsteada
behavioralproblem,wherebythechallengeistobehaveasweknowweoughtto.Thisperspectivedoesnot
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addressthemorecomplicatedconcernofwhohastheprivilegeofjudgingwhatc ountsasa“reasonable”
explanation.Althoughstandardsexistformakingsuchjudgments,discussionofthosestandardsisbeyondthe
scopeofthischapter.See,forexample,JohnRawls,ATheoryofJustice(Cambridge,MA:BelknapPress,1971);
AmartyaSen,TheIdeaofJustice(Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress,2009).
( )P.Yodz is,“CullingPredatorstoProtectFisheries:ACaseofAccumulatingUncertainties,”TrendsinEcology
andEvolution16(2001):282–283;J.S.Diana,S.Maruca,andB.Low,“DoIncreasingCormorantPopulations
ThreatenSportfishesintheGreatLakes?ACaseAtudyinLakeHuron,”JournalofGreatLakesResearch32(2006):
306–320;R.J.King,“ToKillaCormorant,”NaturalHistory,March2009,
http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/0309/0309_feature.html(accessedJuly15,2013).
( )H.Andrén,J.D.C.Linnell,O.Libergetal.,“SurvivalRatesandCausesofMortalityinEurasianLynx(Lynxlynx)
inMulti-useLandscapes,”BiologicalConservation131(2006):23–32;A.Treves,“HuntingforLargeCarnivore
Conservation,”JournalofAppliedEcology46(2009):1350–1356.
( )A.Treves,L.Naughton-Treves,andV.Shelley,“LongitudinalAnalysisofAttitudesTowardWolves,”
ConservationBiology27(2013):315–323.
( )C.Browne-Nunez,A.Treves,D.MacFarland,andZ.Voyles,“TheInfluenceofOfficialLethalControlonIllegal
Take,SocialTolerance,andSubsequentDepredations?TheCaseofWisconsinGrayWolves(Canislupus),”
http://fac ulty.nelson.wisc.edu/treves/wolves/wolfhuman.php(accessedMarch7th2014).
( )L.Naughton-Treves,R.Grossberg,andA.Treves,“PayingforTolerance:RuralCitizens’AttitudestowardWolf
DepredationandCompensation,”ConservationBiology17(2003):1500–1511.
( )Forexample,in2005,“afederaljudgestruckdownaBushadministrationrulethatloweredEndangered
SpeciesAct(ESA)protectionforwolvesthataremigratingoutofstrongholdsintheNorthernRockiesandGreat
Lakesintoneighboringstates…SharonBeck,anEasternOregonrancherandformerpresidentoftheOregon
Cattlemen’sAssociation,saidtherulingleavesrancherslittlerecoursebuttobreakthelaw—knownaroundthe
Westasʻshoot,shovelandshutupʼ—whenwolvesmoveintotheirareas.”SeeJ.Barnard,“RulingHalts
DowngradedWolfProtections,”AssociatedPress,February9,,2005,
www.propertyrightsresearch.org/2005/artic les02/ruling_halts_downgraded_wolf_pro.htm(accessedJuly15,2013).
( )A.TrevesandK.A.Martin,“HuntersasStewardsofWolvesinWisconsinandtheNorthernRockyMountains,
USA,”SocietyandNaturalResources24(2011):984–994.
( )Trevesetal.,“LongitudinalAnalysis,”315–323.
( )SuchasthesurveydescribedinTrevesetal.,“LongitudinalAnalysis,”315–323.
( )L.Sjoberg,“FactorsinRiskPerception,”RiskAnalysis20(2000):1–11;P.Slovic,“PerceptionofRisk:
ReflectionsonthePsychometricParadigm,”inSocialTheoriesofRisk,ed.S.KrimskyandD.Golding(NewYork:
Praeger,1992),117–152.
( )MichiganUnitedConservationClubs,“Out-of-StateAnimalRightsExtremistsatItAgain,”July2,2013,
http://www.mucc.org/2013/07/mucc -statement-on-anti-hunting-initiative-regarding-wolf-management/(accessed15
July2013).
( )Vucetich,“WhatAre60WarblersWorth?”1267–1278;J.VucetichandM.P.Nelson,“TheInfirmEthical
FoundationsofConservation,”inIgnoringNatureNoMore:TheCaseforCompassionateConservation,ed.Marc
Bekoff(Chic ago:UniversityofChicagoPress,2013),9–26;C.DraperandM.Bekoff,“AnimalWelfareandthe
ImportanceofCompassionateConservation:ACommentonMcmahonetal.(2012),”BiologicalConservation158
(2013):422–423.
( )AmericanHeritageDictionaryoftheEnglishLanguage,4thedition(Boston:HoughtonMifflinCompany,2000).
( )Huntinghasotherincidentalvalues,suchasprovidinganopportunitytospendtimeoutdoorsandbetter
understandnature.Notonlyarethesevaluesincidental,theycanalsobeaccomplishedwithoutkilling.
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( )J.VucetichandR.O.Peterson.“UsingBasicPrinciplesofWildlifeManagementtoEvaluatetheProspectsfora
PublicWolfHarvestinMic higan”(writtentestimonytotheMichiganNaturalResourcesCommission,May1,2013).
( )Wolvesaccountfor0.2%ofallcausesofprematuredeathincattle.Themostcommoncausesarevarious
kindsofhealthissues,manyofwhic hcouldbemitigatedbybetterhusbandry.Abouttwiceasmanycattleare
stoleneachyearthanarekilledbywolves.Evenamongmammaliancarnivores,wolvesonlyaccountfor2%ofkills
(domesticdogsaccountfor12%).See“CattleDeathLosses”(reportbytheUnitedStatesDepartmentof
Agriculture,May12,2011),http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CattDeath/(accessedJuly15,2013).
CattDeath-05-12-2011.pdf
( )E.Bangs,M.Jimenez ,C.Niemeyeretal.,“Non-lethalandLethalToolstoManageWolf-LivestockConflictinthe
NorthwesternUnitedStates,”inProceedingsofthe22ndVertebratePestConference,ed.R.M.TimmandJ.M.
O’Brien(Davis:UniversityofCaliforniaDavis,2006),7–16,alsoavailableat
www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/publications/06pubs/shivik067.pdf.
( )Fordetails,seeVucetich,“UsingBasicPrinciples.”Moreover,harvestingcouldexacerbatelossestolivestock.
Thisconcernrises,inpart,fromthelikelyeffectthataharvestwillincreasethenumberofdispersingwolvesin
areaswherelivestockareraised.Dispersingwolvesthathavenotbeenacculturatedtolivinginareaswith
livestockmaybemorelikelytokilllivestock.SeeE.E.BangsandJ.Shivik,“ManagingWolfConflictwithLivestockin
theNorthwesternUnitedStates,”CarnivoreDamagePreventionNews3(2001):2–5;A.TrevesandL.Naughton-
Treves,“EvaluatingLethalControlintheManagementofHuman-WildlifeConflict,”inPeopleandWildlife:Conflict
orCoexistence?ed.R.Woodroffe,S.Thirgood,andA.Rabinowitz (London:CambridgeUniversity,2005),86–106.
( )Insomecases,lethalcontrolisthemosteffectivewaytostoplivestocklosses.Lethalcontrolisdifferentfrom
huntingandreferstothetargetedkillingaparticularwolfattheparticulartimeandplaceassociatedwitha
problem.Evaluatingtheappropriatenessoflethalcontrolrequirestheanalysisofdifferentarguments.Important
questionsinevaluatinglethalcontrolinclude,Havealterativemethodsforsolvingtheproblembeentriedand
showntohavefailed?Istheproblembeingcausedseriousenoughtomerittheuseoflethalcontrol?
( )FreyaMatthews,TheEcologicalSelf(London:Routledge,1991).
( )Forexample,Vucetich,“UsingBasicPrinc iples.”
( )Toreiterate,wearenotsayingthatlethalcontrolofwolvesisneverappropriate.Seefootnote18.
( )Variousexpressionsofthisideaexist,includingthe“veilofignorance”;seeJohnRawls,ATheoryofJustice
(Cambridge,MA:BelknapPress,1971)and“theimpartialspectator”(AdamSmith,TheoryofMoralSentiments
(NewYork:Empire,1759/2011).ImpartialitywasalsocentraltoImmanuelKant’sphilosophy.Foranacc essible
treatmentoftheseideas,seeAmartyaSen,TheIdeaofJustice(Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniversityPress,2009).
( )Noneofthepremisesintheprecedingargumentsareoverlycomplicatedorparticularlydiffic ulttoevaluate.
( )See,forexample,IrvingM.Copi,CarlCohen,andKennethMcMahon,IntroductiontoLogic,14thedition(New
York: Pearson,2010).
JohnVuc etich
Jo hnVucetichisAssociateProfessor,Scho olofForestResourcesandEnvironme ntalScience,MichiganTechn ologicalUniversity.
MichaelP.Nelson
MichaelP.Nelson isRuthH.SpaniolCh airofRenewableResou rcesandLeadPrinci palInvestigatorfortheHJAndrews
ExperimentalForestatOregonStateUniversity;andSeniorFellowwiththeSpringCreekProjectforIdeas, Nature, andtheWritten
Word.
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The purpose of this study is to contribute to the ongoing ethical discussion regarding the use of animals in the fashion and lifestyle industries and to address the attitude and behavioral practices currently being used in the field of animal production and animal welfare. The aim is to investigate, both theoretically and empirically, why it is necessary to apply and implement ethical standards and to address the challenges being faced in how animals are used in these industries. The impact on the environment, a general lack of awareness, and research into ethical consumption will also be explored. By questioning these issues, a better understanding of the contradiction in the ethical production and consumption of animals will emerge. This paper challenges today’s decision makers in the fashion and lifestyle industries and argues that despite recent studies in this area, producers, designers, and other decision makers still lack knowledge of what must be addressed to sustain responsible production and consumption practices. The intention is not to write a dissertation on ethics but to attempt to generate interest in the issues that use and take advantage of other living beings, specifically nonhuman animals. The intent is to do this not through negative images, which are otherwise so easily available, but through the prism of impartiality. The goal is to get animal ethics and welfare on the agenda in the fashion and lifestyle industries and to qualify these issues on the same level as human rights and environmental issues. That all decision makers in the future will take responsibility and in turn improve the conditions these animals live in, while supporting the consumption needs of human beings, is the intention and purpose of this chapter.
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One of the central, abiding, and unresolved questions in environmental ethics has focused on the criterion for moral considerability or practical respect. In this essay, I call that question itself into question and argue that the search for this criterion should be abandoned because (1) it presupposes the ethical legitimacy of the Western project of planetary domination, (2) the philosophical methods that are and should be used to address the question properly involve giving consideration in a root sense to everything, (3) the history of the question suggests that it must be kept open, and (4) our deontic experience, the original source of ethical obligations, requires approaching all others, of all sorts, with a mindfulness that is clean of any a priori criterion of respect and positive value. The good work that has been done on the question should be reconceived as having established rules for the normal, daily consideration of various kinds of others. Giving consideration in the root sense should be separated from giving high regard or positive value to what is considered. Overall, in this essay I argue that universal consideration—giving attention to others of all sorts, with the goal of ascertaining what, if any, direct ethical obligations arise from relating with them—should be adopted as one of the central constitutive principles of practical reasonableness.