Friday, July 3, 2009

Vegans who (Sadly) Support Wilderness

The forum of the Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich or Vegan Society Austria features an interesting discussion of wild-animal suffering from September-October 2008. Here is the link to the first page in German. Below I've copied some comments that I thought were worth highlighting, converted to English using Google Translate.

The topic was raised by "mars mensch":
I'm vegan because I do not want the animals to suffer. I think veganism and animal rights, the idea is to spread a very effective way the suffering of farm animals (and perhaps humans) to be reduced.
But what about wild animals? I can hardly anything on the Internet can find. There are most probably suffering in wilderness. Wild animals suffer from all kinds - hunger, thirst, cold, disease, parasites, injuries, .. depending on the type and probably also fear, grief, stress, sexual frustration ..
Somehow, nobody seems to be wondering about it. I do not think of people suffering caused is worse than "natural", as some seem to perceive. Suffering is suffering.
So the question is: What can be done against the suffering in the wilderness do I have to honestly have no clue.

here are two interesting links on the topic, but also without any real answers:

Some respondents suggested that wild animals may not need help:
I think animals are in the wilderness pretty well. You can provide for themselves or a family, have an enormous amount of space to move and they die at some point. The fact that they are not always made great must simply accept, as people in affluent societies, which have sufficient food and shelter often beyond problems. (Heavy Heavy Low Low, p. 1)

but the few animals are still wild eg: on an island, does not need our help, because the suffering or death keeps everything in balance. (The Andi, p. 1)

I like the reply that mars mensch gave (p. 1):
I think some here have a rather romantic idea of the transformed nature or seem to think that nature is good and man is the source of the evil in the world. This is also anthropozentisch and is not true. Nature is cruel.
Animals are not perfectly adapted to the environment. Many survive the winter because they do not starve or freeze. Dry periods and droughts regularly delete almost complete populations. Diseases and parasites are widespread. There are predators, etc., etc.
We encourage vegans to get us to that calves are taken away from their mothers. But also in the freedom of pups lose their parents and vice versa.
I really do not know what one against the suffering of wild animals can do, but we should in any case, start thinking about it. Perhaps the best thing you can do at the moment, to disseminate that anything should do.

Some further posters expressed the view that humans should leave wildlife alone:
And I personally will not if I now beginning with a game to feel compassion, precisely because it is free in nature can live and also the natural circumstances is exposed!
For me, this is just nature and wilderness: The life enjoy, with all its vagaries and dangers [...] I've also someday read a quote from someone: A world without suffering is a dead world! So somehow related to the natural sorrow which is not vermeitbar has this quote already in my opinion. (leather, p. 2)

when Veganism is not yet a matter of principle, suffering-free world to create (yes this is absolutely not in the range of our options), but only a question of our behavior to be corrected, so that we are sentient beings do not expect further suffering and cruel treated, just because we are stronger than they are. in their nature but we have already sufficient interfered - I personally think that the wildlife rather want us to leave, instead of us even in their affairs. (spaghetti, p. 2)

I appreciated this sentiment from "Mercy" (p. 1):
Whenever I am on television reports about natural disasters can see, such as earthquakes, floods, forest fires, then I think to the animals as victims! Of course, I also find the fate of the people who are affected gaaanz awful, no question, but then I always think that anyone who cares for the animals?

Famine and disease are "natural" in humans, yet most people seem to care about preventing them. Why is there a difference when these occur in animals, apart from the difficulty of the task?

mars mensch offered a nice concluding thought (p. 4):
Human rights are sometimes divided into several generations:

"Rights of the first" generation "refer to the classic civil and political freedom and participation rights, as established by the French Revolution were formulated. They are inter alia in the UN civil pact, or even in the European Convention on Human Rights established. The pact includes a civil general prohibition of discrimination as well as basic defensive and rights (right to life, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labor), the vital for the protection of human dignity are more then Civil freedom and political participation rights (personal freedom and security, thought, religion, expression, assembly, freedom of association, etc.) and justice-related rights (equality before the law, presumption of innocence, fair trial, etc.). The national and international protection for civil and political rights are still the most developed.

Rights of the second "generation" include Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in short: WSK-human rights or social rights), which since the 19th Century in the wake of the industrial revolution emerged. The central point of reference of these rights is the UN social pact, which includes rights and labor, social security, nutrition, housing, water, health and education anchored. Long time these rights were not "real" human rights, but rather as a political target views, which - in contrast to civil and political rights - legally not sufficiently identifiable and judicially reviewable hardly had. Since the 1990s, however, the content and the violation of human rights, social events significantly concretised. Social human rights are now widely deemed to be politically and are by their nature as enforceable (tangible justiciability). "Http://

Maybe it will be in the animal rights as well give something. Only defensive rights against the people, or the right not to be imprisoned and tortured, as response to factory farming, etc. And then to also claim rights to help those whose suffering is not caused by humans. If the species boundaries in ethics exceeded only once, it's just logical.

It's nice to get a sense of how people in the animal-rights movement respond to the idea of wild-animal suffering. Though some are uninterested, there are probably more sympathetic souls among this community than the general population. Raising the topic in forums like this does seem to be a good way of making people think about the issue.


  1. Another source of replies by vegetarians about wild-animal suffering can be found on this VeggieBoards thread. I do find it troubling that people who care so much about human cruelty can simultaneously feel that nature ought to be "left alone". Human death from malaria or diarrhea is also natural -- should we therefore leave alone those in the Third world who suffer these afflictions? If we're not being speciesist, how are animals suffering from such diseases any different?

    1. That link appears to wrong at this point. It just links to a discussion about what kind of illness someone`s cat has.

  2. See this Felicifia page for links to further forum discussions reacting to wild-animal suffering.