New work on antagonism in nature and wild animal suffering

13 Dec 2019


In recent months, at Animal Ethics we have been expanding the pages in our website section on the situation of animals living the wild. As part of that effort, we increased our coverage of the topic of antagonism in nature. In this section, we discuss the harms caused by interactions between animals. There are many different forms of antagonism between both individuals of the same and of different species. They often result in different forms of serious harm to animals. We now have a new set on texts on this issue.

There is a tendency among people who have just learned about wild animal suffering to believe that the main issues animals face in the wild have to do with conflicts with other animals. This is a serious mistake. There are many different causes of wild animal suffering, including for example harmful weather events, diseasehunger and thirstinjuries, or psychological stress. Nevertheless, having an appropriate picture of life in the wild includes being aware of as many as possible of the different challenges animals face. Those occurring due to antagonistic relations are an example.

The study of the lives of animals in the wild from the point of view of their wellbeing is still underdeveloped. However, there is a lot of information in studies about other aspects of their lives from which much can be learned that is directly relevant to evaluation of their wellbeing, and in particular their suffering. The research for our updates has been carried out by examining the available scientific literature that offers insights about this.

You can read our full articles here:

Intraspecific fights

Sexual conflicts among animals in the wild

Interspecific conflicts

If you want to learn more about the ways animals are harmed living in the wild, you can see the rest of our texts on the situation of animals living the wild. We plan to update our research on this very soon. For information about other issues relating to wild animal suffering, including the reasons to give moral consideration to wild animals, current ways of giving them help, and research carried out on this topic, you can visit our whole section about wild animal suffering. Please also consider supporting our work to help improve the lives of animals.