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Killing for Conservation: The Ethics of Life and Death in Conservation Policy.

Inglis, Meera (2016) Killing for Conservation: The Ethics of Life and Death in Conservation Policy. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

There has long been a divide between literature which focuses on the ethical aspects of wildlife conservation and that which deals with its practice. The split is particularly marked when it comes to practices which involve killing, such as hunting and culling. The aim of this thesis is to bridge that divide by creating a new framework, which can be used as a tool for resolving the conflicts of interests which arise when we consider killing one living thing in order to save another. I will argue that killing is only very rarely justified because it undermines the inherent value which exists in all individual living things. Not only is killing usually unethical, it is more often than not ecologically unsound. To demonstrate the veracity of my argument I will combine rigorous analyses of moral philosophy with knowledge gathered from the latest scientific findings on wildlife biology and behaviour. The first chapter of my thesis utilises these methods to show why the traditional, anthropocentric approaches to wildlife ethics are flawed and how this has led to ineffective policy creation and enforcement. The second and third chapters then set up my alternative framework, which I have termed ‘biospherical individualism’. I outline my philosophical arguments and then use these to construct a series of steps which can be used to answer the question: ‘is it morally permissible to kill X in order to protect Y?’ In the remaining chapters I present case studies to show how my framework can be put into practice. I look at the practice of population control, problems surrounding ‘invasive’ species and the ethics of medical testing to create vaccines for animals. Together, these cases highlight the ways in which our conservation policies have, to date, failed to recognise the inherent value of individual living things and how this has led to our failure to protect them. They also, however, demonstrate ways in which we can reconstruct wildlife policy to serve the interests of the plants and animals themselves and which could lead to more effective protection measures in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.694498
Depositing User: Miss Meera Inglis
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2016 14:07
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:27
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14413

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