Wild animal suffering video course

Wild animal suffering video course

This course provides an introduction to the problem of wild animal suffering. It covers the situation of animals in the wild as individuals, including the many harms they suffer, and ways of improving their situation, including some of the ways this is already being done.

This is the opening video for the course. It gives an overview of the topics that will be addressed in the  videos of the course.



Introduction to wild animal suffering: video course

Introduction to wild animal suffering
1st module
Wild animal suffering and way of helping wild animals
Unit 1
What is wild animal suffering?
Unit 2
Harms suffered by animals due to weather conditions and natural disasters
Unit 3
Diseases and parasitism
Unit 4
Hunger and psychological suffering
Unit 5
Unit 6
Injuries due to accidents
Unit 7
Reproductive strategies and wild animal suffering
Unit 8
Rescuing animals
Unit 9
Various ways of helping animals
Unit 10
Vaccinating animals in the wild
Unit 11
What you can do
2nd module
Animal ethics
Unit 12
Speciesism, moral consideration and anthropocentrism
Unit 13
Arguments against speciesism I
Unit 14
Arguments against speciesism II
Unit 15
Ethical theories and nonhuman animals
Unit 16
Animal Ethics and environmentalist ethics
Unit 17
What is sentience?
Unit 18
Invertebrate sentience
3rd module
Promoting academic work to help wild animals
Unit 19
The concepts of welfare, animal welfare, and wild animal welfare
Unit 20
What is welfare biology?
Unit 21
Reasons for promoting academic work in welfare biology
Unit 22
Promising areas for welfare biology research
Unit 23
Welfare biology and other cross-disciplinary fields
Unit 24
Responses to criticisms to the ethics of helping animals
Unit 25
Practical objections against helping wild animals
Unit 26
Wild animal suffering and the importance of the future



Listen to the audio version of the video:


Content of the video:


Wild animal suffering: an overview of the course

Concern about the suffering of wild animals and the ways we can help them has increased a lot in the past decade.  A growing number of people are now aware that the lives of animals in the wild are not idyllic, and that they face threats that dramatically impair their wellbeing. There is more awareness now that this affects not just a few animals, but large numbers of them. While in the past, concern for wild animals was mostly focused on their ecological roles or their  conservation status, many people now are concerned about what happens to them as individuals, as sentient beings.

Some people may think that it is unfortunate that wild animal suffering occurs, but be unsure about how widespread or how serious it is. Others may think this is an important issue, but not know how tractable it is, or what we can do to address it.

This course sheds some light on these questions and helps give a more clear understanding of the reality of wild animal suffering and, what is more important, of what can be done about it. It is intended to provide an introduction to this question for anyone interested in it, and to be especially useful to those involved in animal advocacy who want to know what can be done to help wild animals. The course will also benefit people working in natural sciences with an interest in learning how their work can help animals.

The course will include three parts.

Part I has been completely published already. It explains the ways that wild animals suffer and how we can help them. Part II details the arguments about the moral consideration of animals, and Part III explores the scientific study of the situation of animals from the point of view of their wellbeing. This new field of study has been called welfare biology.

Each part will consist of a set of videos, around 10 minutes each, focused on some specific problems. The entire course contains 28 videos including this one, which you’ll see listed in the course table of contents.

The first part begins with a general presentation summarizing the question of wild animal suffering. Following this, we will clarify in more detail what the concept of “wild animal suffering” entails. The following videos will then explain the different ways in which animals suffer in the wild. We will see the impacts of harmful weather conditions, natural disasters, diseases, parasitism, hunger, psychological stress, conflicts between animals, and accidents. We will also see how the prevalent reproductive strategies significantly increase the proportion of suffering among wild animals. Then, we will see some of the ways to provide help to these animals, including rescues and vaccination programs. Finally, we will see the kinds of things that each of us can do to make a difference for wild animals.

Some people think that we shouldn’t worry about wild animals because we shouldn’t be concerned about what happens to animals at all. We will believe this if we think, for instance, that only humans matter. In order to asess this concern, and to understand better how we can argue for the moral consideration of animals, the second part of the course presents an overview of contemporary debates about ethics and animals. The part will begin by explaining the concepts of speciesism, as well as related concepts like moral consideration. We will next examine the main defenses of the idea that human interests matter more than equally strong interests of other animals. We will then see the main arguments against this view. After that, we’ll cover how the moral consideration of animals relates to different ethical theories. We will then examine the differences between the views defending the moral consideration of animals and those defending other criteria, such as the ones held by some positions in environmental ethics.  In the last part of this part, we will see what sentience is, and consider some indicators of its presence in different animals, especially invertebrates.

Finally, the third part of the course will examine the ways to promote research in academia about how to best help wild animals. In the videos of this part, we will examine the concepts of wellbeing, animal welfare, and wild animal welfare. We will also discuss welfare biology, the study of the situation of animals with regard to their wellbeing. We will see how it is different from other fields that currently exist. We will then see reasons to promote academic research in welfare biology, and what some promising lines of research for this field are. We will see how welfare biology can benefit from work in other cross-disciplinary fields. In light of the work welfare biology could carry out, we will see responses to objections to helping wild animals.. Finally, we will share some ideas concerning the advance of this new field of research, and its importance, especially in the long term.

We hope this course will be interesting to you. Our intention is to help you become familiar with the issues discussed in it, and to share some tools that enable you to do further research on them. We provide information about how to take action in defense of wild animals and to help you make informed decisions about which efforts to support or promote.

If you want to learn more, you can visit our website, where you’ll find much more detailed information about many of the issues addressed in the course.