Ethics of Elephant Culling in Africa

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As Tammy just discussed, elephants have the intrinsic right to exist. The suggested problem with the carrying capacity is a completely legitimate motivation for the practice of culling; however, we must consider the way that culling is done and the ethical impacts that it has.

I know we’re all animal science majors and probably have a soft spot in our hearts for animals--you probably wouldn’t ask “why would an animal, in this case the elephant, have rights like humans do?”--but it is a question very necessary to address in making the argument against culling. Humanity tends to demean the “unalienable rights” stated by Thomas Jefferson (and inspired by Thomas Locke): “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The most basic right--the right to live. Intrinsic right is the foundation of elephant cull ethics, in fact any ethical argument. What is intrinsic right? Basically, the intrinsic right of the elephant is its right in itself--it has the right to exist ‘just because.”

Question on threatening biodiversity...exaggerated...intrinsic right more important, ethically. If it was so drastic natural causes would have the populations under control. The claims of environmental ruin are heavily exaggerated.

What about the right of liberty and pursuit of happiness? It is extremely necessary to educate on what animal welfare is, and why is matters, especially in protecting the victims of unnecessary murder--elephants. The term “animal welfare” is quite subjective but generally it is understood to refer to an animal’s body and physical environment. Basically, if an animal is healthy, it is faring well. But what is unfortunately ignored in how an animal is “faring” is the animal’s emotional state. The idea of animals having emotions is discarded all the time, and therefore the rights to “a pursuit of happiness” of said animals are said to not exist. However, the presence of pain, fear, and sadness--three emotions very important to watch in the elephants...
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