PEI Faculty Seminar Series Video: The Suffering of Wild Animals: Should we do anything about it, and if so, what?

Igor Heifetz ・ High Meadows Environmental Institute

Peter Singer, Ira W. Decamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values

Most of us accept that suffering is an intrinsically bad thing, even if it may sometimes lead to good consequences. That judgment is, I suspect, much more widely accepted than the judgment that biodiversity is intrinsically good. For those who think it important to protect biodiversity, this gives rise to a problem. There is considerable suffering among free-living animals. Should we seek to reduce it? And if so, at what cost to biodiversity? My aim is not to answer this question, but to indicate that the view that we should seek to protect biodiversity is more difficult to defend than environmentalists commonly assume