This next video turns to the crucial subject of how you can help to achieve a better situation for animals. There are many ways in which this can be done, based on your profession or background. What matters is not only that we stop exploiting animals, but also that we take efforts to actively help them, including of course animals who live in the wild. One of the most important things everyone can do is to inform themselves about the situation of animals and advocate towards improving it.
Also available as a chapter of our companion ebook to the video course Introduction to wild animal suffering: A guide to the issues
For animals to be helped in the ways we have seen above, and in other, new ones, there are twomain conditions that must be met. First, it is necessary that there is a will to actually help them. Second, we need the knowledge and means to do so. We will start here with the first condition.
Many people are not very familiar with the situation of animals living in the wild, or with whether they need help. Describing what the lives of animals in the wild are actually like can help to raise people’s concern for them and increase interest in learning more about ways of helping wild animals. Showing people examples of how helping animals is possible or where it is already being done can also play an important role. It is also important to promote the moral consideration of all sentient individuals in general, because in our society animals are still disregarded. Sentient beings, regardless of the ecosystem they are in or whether they belong to a numerous or scarce species, can experience what happens to them as positive or negative. We will see all this in much more detail in the second part of this guide, which will present the main arguments and debates in the field of animal ethics.
This work of raising awareness has to take place in different spheres. Different approaches and communication styles in these different spheres will be required so that as many people as possible get the message. It is especially important to raise concern among people who are involved in animal advocacy and in altruistic causes, especially those who are interested in how to achieve the best results in helping others in need. It is also crucial that students and scientists working in life sciences be able to learn more about this issue. Beyond that, we can also reach the general public, especially younger generations. This will lead to more and more people supporting and joining efforts to help animals. Moreover, the general public has the potential to influence policy and law makers, whose decisions can greatly affect animals.
In addition, gaining more knowledge is crucial so we’ll be better able to help. It is sometimes believed that because ecologists study entities like populations, species, and ecosystems, they might only be concerned about those entities, and not about individual animals. However, there is no reason it has to be this way. There are different goals that can be advanced by acquiring more knowledge in these disciplines. We need to distinguish between these goals and the science itself. Not long ago, this science was applied only to promote human interests. Currently, environmentalist goals are more common. However, this knowledge can also be applied to help all sentient individuals. Moreover, there is a growing number of cases in which it actually is applied for this purpose, and we should encourage the growth of this trend.
The third part of this guide will assess how progress can be made in the scientific arena to spread interest about the wellbeing of animals in the wild. To achieve this, it has been proposed that work at the intersection of several natural sciences, in particular the sciences of ecology and animal welfare, should be carried out. This would allow us to examine the wellbeing of animals and the factors affecting it.
We have seen things that can be done for animals in the wild. We will now see something much more specific and practically relevant. We will see what you can do to make a difference too, depending on your situation.
There are some simple ways in which everyone can help, even if you have only a little time. Some of us might be in a position to help animals in the wild directly. In such cases, not only can we help those animals, but also let other people know about it. In this way, we can set an example to help reinforce and illustrate an ethic of concern for animals. You might never have such an opportunity, but there are many other ways you can help, as you could with any other cause. You can let others know about the situation of animals in the wild and the ways to help them. One way is by sharing information about this online, especially on social media. You can follow Animal Ethics or other organizations working in this field, share posts, and encourage others to do the same. You can also help by doing volunteer work or donating.
Some people can help more specifically due to their professional backgrounds which make it possible for them to help organizations to work more effectively. You might also have some specific skills that will make it possible to give advice or to offer pro-bono work. Or if you work in certain fields, like law, politics, or as a public official, there are ways to include more consideration for the interests of animals in important decisions affecting them. Educators can help to spread concern about wild animals among students. Public figures can help to give more visibility to the issue. These are just some possible ways to help. You might think of others based on your experience, location, and people you know.
If you’re a student or work in academia, you can also help to promote interest about this issue in your university and among your peers. This can be done by organizing events such as talks or seminars. In addition, students and researchers at early stages of their careers can consider specializing in areas of research directly relevant to the wellbeing of animals in the wild. More generally, if you’re a researcher or a scholar, at any stage of your career, there are many valuable topics of research you can pursue that will directly or indirectly affect the situation of animals in the wild and the ways to improve it. Your research can be very important not just in shedding new light on these questions, but also in fostering further research. Depending on your specific area of research, it could also inform potential programs or policies that can help wild animals.
Finally, if you are involved in working for animals or in altruistic advocacy work in general, you can consider adding helping wild animals to your list of supported concerns. You can include this issue in your informational materials about the reasons and ways to help animals. This doesn’t require a completely different form of messaging. On the contrary, you can simply incorporate concern for animals in the wild as what it is: one of the ways of taking animals into account. Animals in the wild can feel and suffer just as those in captivity can, so there’s no reason not to care about them too.
You can consider how much information about wild animals and on what particular topics to add to your materials. You can do this by using the information in this guide or on our website in your online texts and other outreach materials. You don’t have to worry about giving us credit for using our materials about wild animals. What really matters to us is that you too can help animals in the wild. So feel free to take as much information as you want from our materials and use it in yours. You can also engage in other kinds of campaigns. If your organization focuses on specific campaigns aimed at near-term goals, or if you do lobbying work, you can consider campaigning for the implementation of policies that make a difference for animals in the wild. It is sometimes possible to expand certain initiatives that have already been put into practice.
If you are interested in learning what kind of work you could do, or would like any kind of advice concerning wild animal suffering, just get in touch with us and we will be happy to provide you with ideas and suggestions fitted to the kind of work you already do. You can also speak to other people who are involved in working for animals and encourage them to do the same. There is alot that can be done to have a positive impact on wild animals, both in the short term and, especially, in the long term.