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THE VEGANS’ DILEMMA: How to deal with the suffering of wild animals

For an ethical vegan, wild animals such as foxes, snakes or wasps should matter as much as chickens, pigs and cows. Should vegans then try to help prey escape predators?

JORDI CASAMITJANA: In the wild, many animals suffer a great deal due to disease, injury, parasitism, starvation, extreme weather, natural disasters, and predation, problems not directly caused by humans… Ethical vegans attempting to avoid the harm of other sentient beings could be harming them ‘by omission’. For example, if they encounter an animal in need and are able to alleviate their suffering easily, but decide not to intervene…

Ethical veganism is anti-speciesist by definition. This is the original concept of veganism as defined by the Vegan Society in which all forms of animal exploitation are avoided, not only those related to diet… Therefore, for an ethical vegan, wild animals such as foxes, snakes or wasps should matter as much as chickens, pigs and cows…

Should vegans then try to help prey escape predators, or prevent the fittest offspring of a wild animal outlive the weakest? Not all vegans will give you the same answer. Some say vegans have an ethical imperative to give wild animals the same consideration as they would domesticated animals. They say we have a moral obligation to try to reduce, as much as possible, the suffering of all sentient beings of this living planet, and ‘the wild’ is where more suffering is found.

Others say humans are the worst cause of suffering, and any attempt to mess with Nature will end up causing more, as humans have neither the knowledge nor the capacity to intervene in a meaningful way. They believe the best we can do is avoid being the cause of suffering to the animals we have under our control and let ‘Mother Nature’ deal with the rest. Who is right? SOURCE…

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