Promoting Welfare Biology as the Study of Wild Animal Suffering – video and transcript

12 Mar 2019

Animal Ethics’s spokesperson Oscar Horta gave a talk about the problem of wild animal suffering at the Effective Altruism Global 2018 conference in London. The talk discusses the creation of a new field of research, welfare biology.

The video and transcript are now online. They cover:

• What wild animal suffering is in general
• Why wild animal suffering is important
• Some ways we are already helping wild animals
• Why a new field of research is needed
• What Animal Ethics is doing to help initiate this field

Read the transcript here:
Promoting Welfare Biology as the Study of Wild Animal Suffering

The talk discusses why suffering almost certainly prevails in nature, how that is related to reproductive strategies, and the ways animals living in the wild suffer and die. It also addresses the problems that prevent many people from seeing these issues as important, such as having an idyllic view of nature, thinking that wild animals are used to living in harsh conditions, or simply never having thought about the conditions of the lives of animals living in nature.

It gives an overview of what is currently being done to help wild animals. While the scale of the help is currently quite small, there is the potential for it to greatly increase.

There’s a discussion of the scientific fields that create some knowledge about issues related to wild animal suffering. However, their focus is not on addressing the problems of the animals themselves. This discussion is followed by an explanation of how these and other obstacles could be addressed by the science of welfare biology.

The talk ends describing some of the work Animal Ethics is doing to spread concern about wild animal suffering and to support and promote the creation of welfare biology.

Animal Ethics’s welfare biology team coordinator, Maria Salazar, will be giving another talk on this topic at the next Effective Altruism Global event, the EAGxNordics conference in Stockholm on April 5-7.