Opposing lethal wildlife research when nonlethal methods exist: Scientific whaling as a case study

Journal article


Waugh, Courtney A. and Monamy, Vaughan. (2016) Opposing lethal wildlife research when nonlethal methods exist: Scientific whaling as a case study. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 7(1), pp. 231 - 236. https://doi.org/10.3996/072015-JFWM-061
AuthorsWaugh, Courtney A. and Monamy, Vaughan
Abstract

As our understanding of sentience in certain wildlife species grows, and technological advancements promote nonlethal data collection, we believe that we ought to adjust our field methods to incorporate a regime of best practice that prioritizes nonlethal methodologies over inhumane methods of lethal sampling. In addition, progress already made toward nonlethal methodologies in wildlife research needs to be promoted widely. In this paper, we examine whether lethal methods of whale research, using Japanese lethal scientific whaling as a case study, are ethical when the scientific information can be gained from nonlethal methods, and humane methods of killing are not available. As a part of a simple ethical decision-making model, we explore if a requirement for “refinement” of scientific technique, promoted extensively for laboratory-based animal experimentation, has direct applicability to scientific research involving free-living wildlife. We argue that refinement is an appropriate ethical principle in all cases where scientific research involves a choice between nonlethal sampling and the deliberate killing of free-living wildlife for scientific purposes. We conclude that the welfare of individual animals and the conservation of free-living wildlife populations are both worthy of moral consideration and need not be incompatible in humane wildlife research and management.

Keywordsanimal ethics; animal welfare; nonlethal methodology; wildlife research; lethal scientific whaling; refinement; three Rs
Year2016
JournalJournal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Journal citation7 (1), pp. 231 - 236
PublisherU.S. Department of the Interior * Fish and Wildlife Service
ISSN1944-687X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3996/072015-JFWM-061
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84975252810
Page range231 - 236
Research GroupSchool of Behavioural and Health Sciences
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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