Advertisement

Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Mammoths? De-extinction and Animal Welfare

  • Heather BrowningEmail author
Articles
  • 41 Downloads

Abstract

De-extinction is the process through which extinct species can be brought back into existence. Although these projects have the potential to cause great harm to animal welfare, discussion on issues surrounding de-extinction have focussed primarily on other issues. In this paper, I examine the potential types of welfare harm that can arise through de-extinction programs, including problems with cloning, captive rearing and re-introduction. I argue that welfare harm should be an important consideration when making decisions on de-extinction projects. Though most of the proposed benefits of these projects are insufficient to outweigh the current potential welfare harm, these problems may be overcome with further development of the technology and careful selection of appropriate species as de-extinction candidates.

Keywords

De-extinction Animal welfare Cloning Reintroduction 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. Thanks to Seth Lazar for assistance and comments on drafts of this article. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their feedback, which helped improve and clarify this manuscript. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2016 Australasian Association of Philosophy conference, and benefitted greatly from the surrounding discussion there.

References

  1. Adams, W. M. (2017). Geographies of conservation I: De-extinction and precision conservation. Progress in Human Geography, 41(4), 534–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, B. (1995). Reintroduction, zoos, conservation, and animal welfare. In B. G. Norton, M. Hutchins, E. Stevens, & T. L. Maple (Eds.), Ethics on the ark (pp. 155–163). Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beever, J. (2017). The ontology of species: Commentary on Kasperbauer’s ‘Should We Bring Back the Passenger Pigeon? The Ethics of De-Extinction’. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 20(1), 18–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, J. R., Maloney, R. F., Steeves, T. E., Brazill-Boast, J., Possingham, H. P., & Seddon, P. J. (2017). Spending limited resources on de-extinction could lead to net biodiversity loss. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(4), 0053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blockstein, D. E. (2017). We can’t bring back the passenger Pigeon: The ethics of deception around de-extinction. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 20(1), 33–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Camacho, A. E. (2015). Going the way of the dodo: De-extinction, dualisms, and reframing conservation. Washington University Law Review, 92(4), 849–906.Google Scholar
  7. Campagna, C., Guevara, D., & Le Boeuf, B. (2017). De-scenting extinction: The promise of de-extinction may hasten continuing extinctions. Hastings Center Report, 47, S48–S53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, S. (2014). The ethics of de-extinction. NanoEthics, 8(2), 165–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davis, M. A. (2000). “Restoration”—A misnomer? Science, 287(5456), 1203.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.287.5456.1203b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis, C. N., & Moran, M. D. (2016). An argument supporting de-extinction and a call for field research. Frontiers of Biogeography, 8(3), e28431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diehm, C. (2017). De-extinction and deep questions about species conservation. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 20(1), 25–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fiester, A. (2005). Ethical issues in animal cloning. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 48(3), 328–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Friese, C., & Marris, C. (2014). Making de-extinction mundane? PLoS Biology, 12(3), e1001825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gamborg, C. (2014). What’s so special about reconstructing a mammoth? Ethics of breeding and biotechnology in re-creating extinct species. In M. Oksanen & H. Siipi (Eds.), The ethics of animal re-creation and modification (pp. 60–76). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gamborg, C., Gremmen, B., Christiansen, S. B., & Sandoe, P. (2010). De-domestication: Ethics at the intersection of landscape restoration and animal welfare. Environmental Values, 19(1), 57–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Greely, H. T. (2017). Is de-extinction special? Hastings Center Report, 47, S30–S36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harrington, L. A., Moehrenschlager, A., Gelling, M., Atkinson, R. P. D., Hughes, J., & Macdonald, D. W. (2013). Conflicting and complementary ethics of animal welfare considerations in reintroductions: Welfare in reintroductions. Conservation Biology, 27(3), 486–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. IUCN. (1998). Guidelines for re-introductions. IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group. https://portals.iucn.org/library/efiles/documents/2013-009.pdf
  19. Jones, K. E. (2014). From dinosaurs to dodos: Who could and should we de-extinct? Frontiers of Biogeography, 6(1), 20–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jørgensen, D. (2013). Reintroduction and de-extinction. BioScience, 63(9), 719–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kasperbauer, T. J. (2017). Should we bring back the passenger Pigeon? The ethics of de-extinction. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 20(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mason, C. (2017). The unnaturalness objection to de-extinction: A critical evaluation. Animal Studies Journal, 6(1), 40–60.Google Scholar
  23. McCauley, D. J., Hardesty-Moore, M., Halpern, B. S., & Young, H. S. (2017). A mammoth undertaking: Harnessing insight from functional ecology to shape de-extinction priority setting. Functional Ecology, 31(5), 1003–1011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McMahan, J. (2002). The ethics of killing: Problems at the margins of life. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Narveson, J. (1973). Moral problems of population. The Monist, 57(1), 62–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Norton, B. G. (1995). Caring for nature: A broader look at animal stewardship. In B. G. Norton, M. Hutchins, E. Stevens, & T. L. Maple (Eds.), Ethics on the Ark (pp. 102–121). Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  27. Robert, A., Thévenin, C., Princé, K., Sarrazin, F., & Clavel, J. (2017). De-extinction and evolution. Functional Ecology, 31(5), 1021–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rohwer, Y., & Marris, E. (2018). An analysis of potential ethical justifications for mammoth de-extinction and a call for empirical research. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 21, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sandler, R. (2014). The ethics of reviving long extinct species: Reviving long extinct species. Conservation Biology, 28(2), 354–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sandler, R. (2017). De-extinction: Costs, benefits and ethics. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(4), 0105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Seddon, P. J., Moehrenschlager, A., & Ewen, J. (2014). Reintroducing resurrected species: Selecting de-extinction candidates. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 29(3), 140–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shapiro, B. (2015). How to clone a mammoth: The science of de-extinction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Shapiro, B. (2017). Pathways to de-extinction: How close can we get to resurrection of an extinct species? Functional Ecology, 31(5), 996–1002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Steen, E. (1968). Some aspects of the nutrition of semi-domestic reindeer. Symposium of the Zoological Society, London, 21, 117–128.Google Scholar
  35. Turner, D. D. (2017). Biases in the selection of candidate species for de-extinction. Ethics, Policy & Environment, 20(1), 21–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Williams, N. (2003). Death of Dolly marks cloning milestone. Current Biology, 13(6), R209–R210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zimmer, C. (2013). Bringing them back to life. National Geographic, 223(4), 28–41.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyAustralian National UniversityActonAustralia

Personalised recommendations