Outlook on the emerging field of wild animal welfare research: talk transcript

15 Mar 2021

A few months ago, at the EA Student Summit event, Animal Ethics’s spokesperson Oscar Horta gave a talk with Wild Animal Initiative’s representative Michelle Graham about the perspectives for work to improve the situation of animals in the wild. The talk focused on what can be done in academia, especially by students.

This is particularly important because for work in this field to succeed, it must be better researched and understood, taught to future generations, and considered seriously by policy makers. It is important that academics work on the topic of wild animal suffering. Unfortunately, the prevailing paradigms in life sciences focus on either the promotion of human welfare or environmentalist goals and do not include an interest in promoting the wellbeing of animals in the wild. However, it is possible to change this situation and to incorporate a concern for nonhuman animals by promoting work on what is being called welfare biology. We cover this issue in our video course about wild animal suffering.

The video and transcript of the EA Student Summit talk are online. You can read the transcript here:

Outlook on the emerging field of wild animal welfare research

In the talk, the speakers explain the difference between concern for wild animals as sentient individuals and other views considering wild animals that try to achieve different aims, such as conservationist ones. They also list different tasks that people wanting to make a difference for wild animals can undertake.

The talk focuses on different ways students can have an impact. It mentions how work in academia is needed for this cause to be successful. In addition, it discusses different career paths that students can take to best help animals. In particular, it assesses research topics that students can work on in their chosen fields of study. This includes chiefly natural sciences, especially the sciences of ecology and animal welfare. These are the fields where a more significant direct impact can be made. But people working in other disciplines can also make substantial contributions with their work. This includes students and researchers in social sciences and other fields, such as law, philosophy, politics, and others. Finally, the talk also presents options for campus outreach work.

To learn more about this topic, you can watch our video course about wild animal suffering, especially the third module, which focuses on academic work on this issue.

Animal Ethics speakers have recently given presentations at other similar events. In November 2020, Aditya SK gave a talk about the expansion of animal advocacy and concern for wild animal suffering in India at the EAG-Asia Pacific Conference. You can watch that talk here.