Individuals vs. Species? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-22-2013, 11:23 AM
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Today I was reading a book, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms by Richard Fortey, and it got me thinking about protecting specific species or individuals.

Tom Regan's views support individuals be considered equals, so an invasive species like... European Starling (invasive to the US, from England) individuals be given the same consideration as indivduals from the native species of birds now threatened. The life of a polar bear or other climate change sensitive nonhuman would have the same value as a climate change hearty nonhuman. Essentially endangered species would have no greater protection than common species, but the value for all individuals would be greater protected.

Contrast that to say... an Aldo Leopold ethic where it is the preservation of the whole biotic conmunity, woth an emphasis on the endangered and free/wild. In that view, invasives and animals that threaten endangered species would be removed from the ecosystem, likely killed.

Where do you stand? Are you for the individual or for the species?

Should endangered species be given "body guard" style protections? What should happen to invasive species?

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#2 Old 09-22-2013, 12:55 PM
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I tend to value the individual, but my answer would change depending on the impact on the ecosystem. If only one or two other species are negatively impacted, then I wouldn't do anything about the invasive species. However, if the ecosystem as a whole is threatened, that becomes a different matter.

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#3 Old 09-22-2013, 04:23 PM
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Individual, but only in right to life and freedom from cruelty, not in right to property. So for example, nonnative/troublesome species could be relocated/rehomed or neutered/given birth control.
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#4 Old 09-22-2013, 04:30 PM
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Indeed. It's absurd to suppose we could feed every individual creature and allow all of them to promulgate endlessly. The current imbalance results from our attempt to ensure this to one species -- ourselves. For a finite planet to supply each lifeform with sufficient comfort, we must permit limits on reproduction. I think it's false that natural instinct in mammals is only to spread to the furthest possible extent allowed by competition -- we need to respect our true innate response to resource shortfalls and gradually scale back our overly self-aware intervention into the interactions between animals to help the ecosystem reassert its own corrective functions. At least, that is what I personally tend to believe could eventually manifest: for the time being, we do need to deliberately control situational impacts caused by our deliberate campaigns for excessive resources.

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