Most (un)wanted: The ethics of ‘pest’ and ‘invasive’ species management

  • 13 Jan 2022
  • 15:00
  • Online via Zoom and YouTube Live Stream


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Join our Animals & Biodiversity Think Tank Programme for their first roundtable of 2022, organised by associate member Cebuan Bliss!

This roundtable will address the ethical dilemmas associated with managing animals deemed unwanted as ‘pests’ or ‘invasive’. Managing such ‘problem individuals’, populations or species, inevitably creates trade-offs in society. The extent to which we discipline animals out of place now includes lethal eradication techniques, live-capture trapping, chemical sterilisation, and widespread fencing. These measures reflect not only our deep-seated values about animals, biosecurity, nature aesthetics and xenophobia, but they also create new orders and invite new relations with animals.

This raises the questions: What are our moral responsibilities to such ‘unwanted’ animals? And, how can we ‘manage’ these animals in an ethical way?

This is an issue of transnational importance, transcending socially constructed state borders as these animals navigate the globe, often aided by humans (whether intentionally or not). The panel will discuss the moral geography of rights, where animals straddle the divide between invasive/native, domestic/feral/wild and urban/rural. Our own pet cats, for example, are considered by some to be an invasive species threatening native biodiversity.

Managing these animals is inherently political and can be associated with discourses on immigration, biosecurity and globalisation. Such politically sensitive animal welfare issues need to be addressed and, indeed, there is evidence that this is starting to occur; the European Union, which acknowledges animal sentience in the Lisbon Treaty, is currently working with stakeholders to improve the humane treatment of invasive species. Perhaps still lacking, however, is a discussion on the normative question on human-non-human relations and how we should co-exist in the Anthropocene: what is the role of invasive or unwanted species in shared multispecies landscapes of the future?

For more information, click here for the event programme PDF.

This event will take place on Zoom and live streamed to our YouTube channel. Please note that you must be subscribed to our channel for at least 5 minutes in order to take part in our live stream chat. Click here to be directed to our channel.

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