Wild Animals - Introductory Text

Management and use of wild animals

By P. Sandøe, S. B. Christiansen & B. Holst 
Ethics of animal use. Wiley-Blackwell. 2008 


The animals which are the focus of this chapter differ in an important respect from those discussed in previous chapters: living and breeding without human interference, they are the products of natural evolution. They are wild animals. But if wild animals live independently of us, why examine them in a book about animal use? There are two reasons for this.

The first reason is that, throughout human history, man has made use of wild animals. We have fished for, trapped and hunted wild animals to acquire food and non-food products like fur. Wild animals have also been a source of entertainment. Since ancient times they have been on display in circuses and and markets. In more recent times, zoos and wildlife parks have developed in large numbers, and it has become common for ordinary people to keep wild animals such as fish, birds, and reptiles.

The second reason for bringing wild animals into a discussion of animal use is that, increasingly, they are not just left to live their own lives. In fact it seems fair to say that the human desire to conquer wild nature has been all too successful, since many wild species have become extinct, and even more are believed to be endangered. In reaction to this, a nature and wildlife protection movement has grown over the last 200 years. Often this protection will take the form of active management, with some species being controlled in order to allow other species to prosper.

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