Date: 31 March 2022
Time: 1800 (6:00 pm) EDT
Hosted by the Wolf Conservation Center, Francisco Santiago-Ávila, PhD describes how the removal of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections and state policies liberalizing wolf-killing dismiss scientific and ethical evidence promoting wolves’ moral consideration. State policies in the wake of gray wolf delisting also reject more robust, compassionate, just, and democratic worldviews, which are highly valued by a majority of Americans.
The discussion starts with the increase of anthropogenic (human-caused) mortality in wolves, the devastation wreaked by said mortality, and the impact of lethal policies and actions on human-wolf conflicts. Not only are state wolf-killing policies largely ineffective, they are more often counterproductive. Reducing protections for wolves leads to an increase in unsanctioned killing and rarely helps to mitigate wolf-human conflicts.
We then consider the role of ethics in wolf policy and how not engaging in ethical deliberation results in agency capture and failure to address institutionalized, ill-founded and oppressive worldviews. In short, policies that legitimize wolf killing are at once unethical, anti-scientific, and undemocratic.
As an alternative to the failing approach represented by the gray wolf delisting and killing policies, we describe how current scientific and ethical understanding of wolves aligns with Ojibwe claims regarding the human-wolf relationship, along with values of compassion, justice, democracy, and mutual flourishing. We conclude by outlining the purpose and process of ethically-grounded scientific deliberation in the policy process, which in turn leads to better policy decisions and actions.
Adapted from the Wolf Conservation Center website. The WCC is an education and advocacy nonprofit teach the public about wolves and their vital role in the environment.