Animal Ethics invites submissions for the 1st Animal Ethics Essay Prize on the suffering of animals in nature and intervention in the wild.
Concern for the situation of animals in the wild is becoming a major issue in animal ethics today. Although according to a relatively common naïve view, animals in the wild live mostly good lives and natural processes are good simply because they are natural, there is an increasing awareness that wild animals encounter many sources of suffering and early death, and that this is something humans should be concerned about.
Moreover, there are reasons to think the lives of most animals have more suffering than positive wellbeing. Most animals reproduce by having a huge number of offspring, while on average only one per parent survives. The majority of the others die shortly after coming into existence, commonly in painful ways, such as starving or being killed by other animals. Their lives are so short that there is little wellbeing in them, while they include the suffering of the animals’ often painful and sometimes frightening deaths.
Although human intervention in the wild can sometimes increase the harms animals suffer, it can also help to reduce them significantly. There are many examples of initiatives that have been implemented already, from wild animal rescue centers to vaccination and feeding programs. Other programs on a larger scale may be developed as concern for nonhuman animals increases.
While this topic has often been neglected, the literature on it has been growing significantly in recent years. This prize aims to contribute to this by encouraging further research on it. We welcome submissions up to 9,000 words long. They must not have been previously published or accepted for publication. The winner will be awarded $1,500.
Essay topics may include:
Since there are many possible topics, essays can have a wide range of approaches. Both strongly empirically-based and more speculative essays will be eligible for the prize, including for instance essays in natural science addressing applied welfare biology problems, in practical philosophy considering the arguments for helping animals in the wild, and in social science assessing how to better spread concern about this topic.
Contributions will be assessed with special consideration given to their potential impact, such as:
Contributions (in English) must be sent as email attachments to essay.prize ( a ) animal-ethics.org, with the subject “Animal Ethics Essay Prize.” Submissions should not include the name of the author on the essay itself. Instead, the author should state her or his contact details and the name of the essay in the body of the email. The deadline is December 15, 2015.
The winning essay will be chosen after a blind review process. The winner of the prize will be announced during the first quarter of 2016. However, if none of the submitted papers meets an acceptable standard of quality, the prize will not be awarded.
If there are enough high quality submissions, authors will have the option of having their essays considered for inclusion in a book to be edited by Animal Ethics in which the winning essay will be published.